One of the most common factors I routinely assess when working with a client, in addition to training, diet or cardio- is STRESS.
In a chronically stressed client, with elevated levels of cortisol, the body is essentially working against you – holding onto bodyfat, limiting lean muscle growth and negatively impacting several other key systems of the body including digestion and nutrient absorption.
Fat loss: When you have frequent elevated cortisol levels your body thinks it needs to store belly fat so that it will have easily accessible energy in anticipation of more intense stress.
Muscle growth: Too much cortisol hurts muscle growth because it increases the rate of protein breakdown and can decrease the rate of protein synthesis. And muscle growth depends on the difference between protein synthesis and breakdown.
When it comes to combating stress levels, what you eat may actually help relieve your tension.
The following five foods can actually stabilize blood sugar, improve your mood and boost your emotional response to stress and anxiety.
1. Oatmeal: According to MIT research, carbohydrates can help the brain make serotonin, the same substance regulated by antidepressants. So don’t cut carbs, just opt for slow digesting complex carbs like oatmeal. Oatmeal is also high in the amino acid tryptophan which helps produce serotonin, the chemical that regulates hunger and feelings of happiness and content.
2. Salmon: When you’re stressed, it ramps up the levels of adrenaline and cortisol in your body. The omega-3 fatty acids in foods like salmon have anti inflammatory properties hat may help counteract this. There is also significant science backing correlating high omega 3 intake with lower levels of anxiety.
3. Green tea: Green tea (decaf or regular) contains properties that help lower stress and anxiety. Green tea also contains the amino acid theanine which promotes relaxation.
4. Sweet potatoes: Root veggies like sweet potatoes are dense in antioxidants which fight off the free radicals that form as a result of stress. The natural sweetness also helps reduce the urge you’ll have to consume high sugared comfort foods. Drizzle sweet potatoes with some raw honey for added antioxidants and sweetness or coconut oil.
5. Walnuts: Walnuts, like salmon, are dense in omega 3 fatty acids, but they’re also rich in selenium which not only contributes to stabilizing your mood and warding off stress, but also helps internally fight inflammation.
I also always suggest that you remove and/or limit most processed, high-sugar junk foods. I like to see a larger consumption of balanced meals centered around lean protein, some good fat, slower digesting carbs, and a vegetable or fruit.
As for supplements, I recommend something like Cort-Eaze.
Cort-Eaze contains the key ingredients Ashwagandha and Suntheanine L-theanine. These plant-based ingredients support overall wellbeing and mood by balancing stress hormone production from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
Another crucial component of Cort-Eaze is Relora, which has been found to help blunt cortisol release. Studies have demonstrated that Relora helps to lower morning cortisol (a marker of adrenal stress), increase salivary DHEA, manage stress-related eating, and help manage body weight.
Cort-Eaze also contains key stress support ingredients such as maral extract, phosphatidylserine, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) and rhodiola root. These ingredients are scientifically proven to enhance relaxation, support healthy cortisol secretion, alleviate fatigue and anxiety, support healthy sleep, and reduce stress related water retention.
Many of my clients have already experienced the benefits of Cort-Eaze, and you’d like to try it, use my client code AF10 at checkout to snag 10% off!