The impact of long term stress in your lifestyle can have a severe and irreversible impact on your body. Its effects may seem fleeting at first, but when left properly unmanaged, there can be serious consequences, such as rapid aging, heart problems, depression and serious mental health issues.
If this is a concern of yours, take a look at the three best superfoods for stress.
Ashwagandha is widely regarded as the best natural superfood supplement available to help lower stress levels and improve mental wellbeing.
As an adaptogenic herb, it contains various health properties that enable the body to more effectively manage stress and anxiety. It helps the body fight against stress by moderating the body’s overall chemical balance and helping it adapt to different stressors.
According to a study carried out on test subjects with a history of chronic stress, consumption of Ashwagandha root extract over 60 days contributed to a significant reduction in stress, based on all the relevant stress assessment scales.
It is believed to have this effect because of its ability to moderate the amount of cortisol that the adrenal glands excrete. Cortisol is a stress hormone necessary for many of the body’s natural processes, but when there is too much, this can have a negative impact on your body.
Ashwagandha has long been used in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal practice. It is considered by many to be a natural healing substance that works with the body to provide the tools it needs to deal with stress more effectively.
It would be wrong to demonize Cortisol. Although too much of it in your body can be damaging, it is an important part of a well-functioning body, enabling it to regulate the metabolism and assist in brain function.
The trick is to minimise adverse levels of cortisol that can otherwise overload the body and lead to frustration, anxiety, depression and in some severe cases, chronic fatigue syndrome.
If stress is not regulated properly, it can also impact physical health, potentially leading to other health concerns such as heart disease and diabetes.
Maca is another adaptogenic superfood that improves the body’s ability to cope with stressors. These challenges may originate from anywhere – work deadlines, family expectations, financial troubles, results focused sporting activities – but the effect on your body will be the same.
Maca does not eradicate stress. Instead, it balances the amount of stress hormones released from the adrenal glands to enable our bodies to function more effectively.
One study targeting a group of menopausal women found that Maca helped reduce depression and blood pressure for those who took the supplement, compared to those who hadn’t. According to the report, women felt calmer and more in control.
Turmeric, one of the world’s favorite superfoods, is widely known for its powerful ability to improve digestion, strengthen the body and relieve pain and swelling. Less known perhaps, is its ability to reduce the effects of stress.
One study found that Turmeric Curcumin, when tested on rats, demonstrated antidepressant-like effects.
Curcumin, an essential ingredient in Turmeric, is also linked with reduction in sleep deprivation, offering individuals a better chance of benefiting from the positive effects of normal sleep
A study by the UCLA Brain Injury Research Centre found that the Curcumin in Turmeric enhances the synthesis of omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which many believe helps to protect against cognitive disorders such as anxiety. This may be why Turmeric has long been considered a calming ingredient.
Stress can be combated in many different ways. In some situations it may require serious change in lifestyle or attitude to overcome adverse stress levels. However, the effect of a healthy diet and regular intake of helpful ingredients such as Ashwagandha, Turmeric and Maca can go a long way in assisting any stress busting strategies you employ.