How Food can Reduce Stress

Stress is all around us, and food provides a welcome, if momentary break.
Unfortunately, the foods we often turn to in times of stress, like coffee and sweets,
have a way of making us feel even more frazzled later on.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Research has shown that eating more of some foods
and less of others can cause stress hormones in the body to decline.

Making slight changes in your diet will produce physical changes  in the brain that
can make the world’s problems just a little bit easier to handle.

Researchers have found that food high in carbohydrates produce changes in the brain
that can take the edge of stress.

During emotionally trying times, our brain uses up its supply of serotonin, a chemical
that imparts feelings of well-being.  When serotonin levels fall, negative feelings
tend to rise.

Eating foods that are high in carbohydrates, like pasta, bagels or baked potatoes,
can quickly rise low serotonin levels, making you feel less stresses and more relaxed.
As serotonin levels rise, appetite usually decreases, which means that you are
less likely to eat your way through hard times.

Research  found that foods high in vitamin B6, such as bananas, potatoes and prunes,
can relieve irritability and stress, making you feel just a little bit better.
In one study, Dr. Tecce and his colleagues at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition
Research Center on Aging at Tufts University in Boston lowered vitamin B6 levels
in a group of volunteers. The people became increasingly irritable and tense.

Vitamin B6 improves mood by raising levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain
that is related to feeling good. When you don’t get enough vitamin B6 in your diet,
dopamine levels fall, and you can experience negative feelings.
In addition, people who don’t get enough vitamin B6, may produce to little serotonin,
which make them feel even worse.