5 Naturally Gluten-Free Foods that Beat Stress
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply eat our way stress-free? Of course it would, and of course, abolishing stress is not that simple. However, certain foods can play a role in reducing stress. Because stress affects our digestive system, we can help our bodies 5 Naturally Gluten-Free Foods that Beat Stress.
Let’s look at how stress acts on our digestive tract.
How Stress Affects the Digestive System
Stress affects every system in our body. The digestive system is no exception.
Some negative effects stress can have on digestion:
- Contractions in the digestive tract are slowed (think of the muscle contractions needed to move food through the digestive tract)
- Chemical secretions necessary for digestion are slowed (Our bodies produce special chemicals to break down food we eat in order for nutrients in those foods to be absorbed.)
- Blood flow to the digestive tract is slowed (this means reduced nutrient absorption into the bloodstream)
- Stress can cause inflammation in the digestive tract, leading to increased risk of infection
In the case of short-term stressors like a visit to the dentist, a big exam at school, or a meeting with the boss, we may have mild symptoms like:
- Acid reflux
These are usually brief episodes, subsiding once the stressful event ends.
Prolonged stress is stress that continues to build. Events such as job loss, death of a loved one, and even less significant stressors, like the stress associated with the holiday season, can lead to more serious and lasting effects. This is particularly true for those with Celiac disease or other immune or gastrointestinal disorders.
The good news is, we can use our gluten-free diet to help combat stress and its negative effects!
Using a Healthy Gluten-Free Diet to Help Beat Stress
I firmly believe we can heal our bodies through diet.
Reducing stress and its negative effect on our bodies is no different. Certain foods contain vitamins and nutrients that can actually reduce stress on a biochemical level. What’s fantastic is these stress-reducing super foods are also naturally gluten-free!
Tasty (Gluten-Free) Ways to Fight Stress
Naturally gluten-free stress-fighting foods are great year round, but particularly ideal for the holiday season because many of them are in season during that time, making these foods fresh, available, and affordable!
5 Naturally Gluten Free Stress-Busting Foods
High in magnesium, which is a natural muscle relaxant; dried apricots make a terrific sweet snack. They are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and perfect for on the go snacking.
Raw carrot sticks can provide an active physical way to reduce stress. Many of us munch away when our stress levels build. That makes sense because research shows chewing can reduce certain stress hormones. Instead of chips or sweets, reach for low-fat antioxidant rich roots to reduce hunger, stress, and waistline.
We all know vitamin C-rich oranges are terrific immune boosters! Did you know vitamin C also helps reduce certain stress hormones and keeps blood pressure in balance? Even better, this winter fruit is readily available and affordable during the winter months.
Research on omega-3 fatty acids in salmon reveals not only do healthy fats in this fish stave off heart disease, they also keep stress hormones from becoming too elevated.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Dig in for seconds of sweet potato casserole this holiday season! This naturally sweet treat is full of beta-carotene, vitamins, and fiber. All of these help our digestive systems process foods properly. Sweet potatoes are so satisfying that they also combat stress-induced over-eating.
Don’t overlook adding sweet potatoes to gluten-free baked goods to enhance flavor and reduce fat!
While these aren’t the only foods that can keep stress at bay, these are some of the most nutritionally effective.
By incorporating these, and other nutrient dense foods, into the diet, we can stay on the path to optimal health, even during times of stress.