Foods that Reduce Stress…and Belly Fat
Most of us already realize that what we eat plays a major role in our level of health. Research points at dietary recommendations that will balance your body chemistry, produce wellness and increase longevity. With today’s arduous lifestyles, we can all gain a significant advantage by including certain foods in our diet and avoiding others.
For example, “Eat This Not That” published a list of foods that diminish cortisol, the stress-related hormone that tilts metabolism toward fat storage, especially belly fat. Deciding to eat better is a simple and direct strategy, available to just about everyone. Not surprisingly, most of these foods are fruits and vegetables, since the primary cortisol-fighter is plain old magical Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, present in a wide variety of plant foods. Each food offers its own menu of chemical assets, worth your while to explore, make some choices, and of course pass these ideas along to those you care about.
And it’s a pleasure to eat many of these desirable foods – for example, what tastes better than cool, ripe cherries on a hot summer day? That’s one reason they call a good life a “bowl of cherries” – but did you know that cherries make you healthier? Cherries are mostly water, so they’ll fill you up without packing on the calories – a cup provides 25% of your daily Vitamin C requirement, and they also provide melatonin, which helps you sleep. Work some cherries into your diet and you’ll feel better and function better, too.
Blueberries are also yummy, and they are a great booster for your brain function. They attack belly-fat, lower blood pressure and clean out bad molecules that mess up the way your body works and heals. Strawberries and tomatoes are common to many people’s diets, but did you know that they both contain nutrients called polyphenols? They help you to fight disease, but they also prevent fat from forming. Turnips combat body fat with a rich storehouse of nutrition that reduces inflammation and lowers the risk of cancer. Sweet potatoes stabilize blood sugar levels, which reduces cravings and lowers insulin resistance, which drops fat conversion.
Are you starting to see a pattern here? Each of these fruits and vegetables has a secret code of helpful, healthy chemicals inside – and by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, you can provide the building blocks your body needs to fight chemical stress. And, if you have a particular kind of chemical stress, then a quick search will show you which foods you can concentrate on, so you can get your body tuned up like a finely-oiled machine. Pineapples are delicious, and they also contain bromelain, which breaks down foods and reduces bloating, while broccoli has cancer-fighters that also boost testosterone and fight body-fat storage. Red peppers will drive your metabolism and burn fat, while green peas will plunge your cortisol levels, relieving stress. Raspberries, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, guava, bok choy, melon, kale, oranges – Nature gives us what we need to live a long and healthy life. We just have to pay attention and respond accordingly, with common sense and perspective, and we can be both thinner and less stressed.
Needless to say, many will look at this list, scratch their head and shudder – and that’s the point. It’s the main reason we have such a cultural issue with obesity, that many of us simply haven’t learned how to enjoy these foods. When the standard nutritional approach is mostly meats, grains, unhealthy fats and empty carbohydrates, what could we expect besides an overweight public? Fortunately, the opposite is also true – the more we incorporate healthy foods into our daily routines, the less we’ll suffer the onslaught of cortisol-induced stress, the slimmer we will be, and the happier overall our society will become. All that from eating more organic, non-GMO fruits and veggies? Try it and see how it works for you and your family – it’s a habit that will reward you many times over.