5 Foods for overcoming Fear
Monday was May 4th. For my fellow Star Wars loving friends, that day is also used as a spin off of the popular Star Wars saying, "May the 4th (force) be with you".
I wrote a post comparing the sayings of Yoda and the journey of Anakin becoming Darth Vader to the fear I've been seeing surrounding our current circumstances. Feel free to check it out!
In that post, I mentioned that fear and stress are among the worst offenders to our immune system. In this blog, I'm going to share a bit about why that's the case along with a few delicious foods to combat the damage they incur!
Fear is a form of stress.
Both fear and stress are meant to be helpful sensations for our body. Prior to modern civilization, stress served an important role - the "fight or flight" response to danger. If we were out hunting for some food and came across a lion, a tiger, or a bear (oh my!), our bodies would go into that mode.
When we're in the fight or flight mode, a few aspects of our body shut down. Our digestive system shuts down, our reproductive system shuts down, and the reasoning part of our brain is hindered. This is so that the blood from those areas can be diverted to our arms and legs, enabling us to use them to fight our way or run to safety.
The stimulus for fear and stress has changed. By and large, we aren't dealing with physical danger. Even with COVID-19, the stress response is not suited to fight contact with a virus.
We now enter a fight or flight response due to our fear of emotional or mental threats. For example:
the fear of not completing a task our boss gave to us in time
the stress of working from home and adjusting to a new, challenging routine
the fear of losing a loved one
the stress of going to the grocery store during a pandemic
Not only have the things that stress us out changed, but the length of our fear and stress has changed as well. We aren't fearful for a moment, we now carry those fears with us throughout the day and, often, into days and days that follow.
This has a very negative impact on our health. As I mentioned earlier, when we are in the stress mode, very key aspects of our body are shut down - digestion, reproduction, and brain function.
This is why, when we are stressed, we struggle to focus, we are more irritable, we have digestive issues, and our hormones are significantly out of balance.
Moreover, when we are in a stressed state, we cause our bodies to be inflamed. The excess production of cortisol and adrenaline along with the chronic release of cytokines puts our body at risk by lowering our immune system and increasing our chances of diseases like heart disease, irritable bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
It's important to acknowledge our fears, to give ourselves compassion, and to choose a narrative that brings us into peace and comfort. Reducing stress is one of the most important health habits we can implement.
Additionally, it's important to support our bodies amidst the damage caused by stress and fear. The following foods are excellent choices for reducing in combating the negative impacts of stress on your body!
Nuts are a source of healthy fat, fiber, and a few key nutrients, such as selenium, that offer antioxidant support!
Pasture Raised Eggs
Eggs are another great source of healthy fat, along with protein and vitamin D.
Vitamin D is actually a hormone that most people are deficient in!
Eggs also contain the amino acid tryptophan, which helps to create the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is thought to improve brain function and relieve stress!
It's important to get grass fed, organic, or pasture raised meats. These are devoid of harmful additives like hormones or antibiotics.
Similar to the benefit of eggs, quality meat provides a spectrum of amino acids that support your brain health.
Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc, a powerful immunity booster and a vital nutrient to support emotional health.
Additionally, pumpkin seeds contain potassium which supports the regulation of blood pressure - something that tends to get out of balance with stress.
Other potassium rich foods are bananas.
Turmeric is a common spice in Indian food dishes. It has been shown to reduce anxiety in obese adults through it's anti-inflammatory effect.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is the antioxidant that supports the reduction of inflammation. Curcumin specifically has been shown to increase DHA and reduce anxiety.
Along with these 5 stress fighting foods, I encourage you to take a quality probiotic and get plenty of veggies into your diet!
Peace & health to you!