Stress can build quickly for today’s small business owners, especially in our troubled economy. A factor often overlooked as a way to combat stress is diet. While food choices are often blamed for sluggishness, foggy thinking, and irritability, junk food can also act as fuel for stress. Alternatively, nutrients found in healthy foods have the potential to offer natural anxiety and stress relief to help you cope with the challenges of your busy day.
Many small business owners, as well as their employees, tend to skip lunch, hit the vending machine in lieu of a meal, and settle for high-fat, high-sugar and highly-caffeinated foods to rev up for the afternoon. The temporary caffeine and sugar highs end with a crash in energy and mood, usually by mid to late afternoon.
By reducing the amount of coffee, sodas, chocolate, and sugary snacks and replacing them with healthy alternatives, your body will release different and “natural” chemicals in the brain to reduce stress. Instead of grabbing a candy bar, try snacking on sunflower seeds to release selenium, an anti-anxiety chemical naturally present in our bodies. Forego the fast food alternatives and choose fish like salmon instead, with its omega 3 oils that release serotonin, an anti-depressant that can boost mood and brain power.
Try following these tips to feel the difference:
- Drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
- Include leafy greens and beans in your daily meal plan.
- Eat four or more servings of veggies—fresh, cooked, or even in soup.
- Eat two to three servings of fresh fruit daily.
- Substitute whole grains for processed grains.
- Eat two to three servings of protein: fish, chicken, low-fat dairy, soy products, or beans.
Healthy food choices are a natural stress remedy that can help keep your energy level high while calming your nervous system. When you are well-nourished, you are better prepared to cope with life’s daily stresses.
What are ways you reduce stress? Share your tips for others in the comments below.