Welcome to 2020, a year of massive world change and stress for many of us. Change always creates stress, especially when it’s out of our control. When we’re stressed the chemistry of our bodies changes and we use up certain nutrients to manage it and prevent stress-related inflammation and illness from developing. Ensuring you have good stores of nutrients means you can manage your physiological, mental, and emotional stress responses more successfully. This is where diet and nutrition come in. Vitamin C, magnesium, Omega 3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates are four nutrients that can help you counteract the stress in your life.
Stress is how the brain and body respond to any type of challenge, such as new assignments at work, a surprise birthday party, moving to a new house, or suddenly homeschooling your kids during the COVID shutdown! Even though we usually have bad feelings toward stress, it can actually be a good thing. It helps us deal with dangerous situations by motivating us to face a threat or flee to safety. You’ve probably heard of the “fight or flight” response; that is your body trying to help you during a crisis, whether that crisis is real or imagined. Stress also motivates us to take action and tend to our day-to-day tasks, like taking a test or interviewing for your first job out of college or just getting out of bed in the morning. (NIMH)
Long-term stress, unfortunately, can harm your overall health. If you’re stressed for a long time, your body doesn’t return to normal functioning. This can disturb your immune, digestive, cardiovascular, sleep, and reproductive cycles. Long-term stress can cause problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, or anxiety, and the inflammation that underlies them. Especially today, as people around the world adjust to the COVID pandemic, working remotely, and educating their children from home, stress levels are on the rise. (NIMH)
There are simple ways to reduce your stress. You might be familiar with some of these: getting regular exercise, sleeping enough hours each night, exploring relaxation techniques like yoga or meditation, socializing, meeting with a therapist, and eating well. (NIMH)
Plant-based diets, such as veganism, will reduce your stress levels. Food provides the support and building blocks our bodies need to decrease free radicals, lower stress hormones, and balance our bodies. By eating a smart plant-based diet, you can reduce your stress and improve your health.
Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that reduces the damage caused by free radicals and stress hormones. Adults need at least 65 - 90 milligrams of vitamin C per day to ensure you don’t show the scurvy signs of vitamin C deficiency. Studies show it’s safe to ingest 2,000 mg per day.
At Your Vegan Family, we focus on nutrient-dense food that fills up your stores of vitamins and minerals on a daily basis so you always have the building blocks you need to stay healthy. Here are a few plant-based recipes for you that are high in vitamin C:
Magnesium is a macromineral, meaning its a mineral we need to ingest rather large amounts of. It participates in over 300 cellular processes and is known as the “relaxation mineral”. Magnesium deficiency is common, but lucky for plant-based eaters, the foods highest in magnesium are all plants! Adults need at least 300-420 mg of magnesium per day to avoid deficiency symptoms.
Here are a few recipes that can help you relax with heaps of magnesium:
Omega-3 fatty acids are oils your body requires. They provide energy, support mental development, and decrease inflammation. They're good fats!
These recipes from Your Vegan Family, are high in ALA:
Complex carbohydrates are abundant in plant-based foods, especially whole grains, legumes, and vegetables. They make up the bulk of a vegan diet.
Here are three energy-rich and nutrient-dense recipes from Your Vegan Family:
Food can be medicine. Eating plant-based food can help you lower stress, recover from stress-induced illness, and stay calm throughout the day, as well as sleep better at night. We hope you'll enjoy lowering your stress with the recipes we included. You can find more detailed nutritional information at the bottom of each recipe.
Stacy and Markus live an adventurous vegan lifestyle and write articles about their experiences cooking global vegan cuisine, creating businesses, raising vegan kids, and traveling through more than 65 countries. They earned degrees in molecular biology and acupuncture, consulted over decades for healthcare companies and individuals, created businesses in Asian medicine, eco-tourism, cultural immersion, and taught yoga in myriad venues.
We’ve learned a lot from eating a plant-based diet for 25 years and are eager to share more with you. Learn more on our About Us page.
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