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The Deconstructed Dish: 3 Easy Ways to Manage Stress with Your Diet

By Jenn Randazzo, MS RD on December 3, 2015, categorized in Plant-based Nutrition, Put Yourself First

The Deconstructed Dish: 3 Easy Ways to Manage Stress with Your Diet

Who has time to stay savvy about latest nutrition research these days? Besides, a nutritional breakthrough or wonder food makes headlines every Monday only to be disproved by Tuesday, right?  Even though you may be seconds away from tossing in the kitchen towel and just eating your favorite comfort foods because you’re so frustrated and confused, don’t yet.

Nutrition trends come and go, but I’m here to provide you with evidence-based, sustainable ways to improve your health.  Each month, I’ll focus on a nutritional hot topic, sift through tons of research, separate fact from fiction, and provide realistic solutions to help you improve your life.

Packing healthy school lunches. Juggling soccer practice and piano lessons.  Taking your parents to their doctor’s appointment. Attending parent-teacher meetings. Attempting to scrape yourself together for a workout. Who wouldn’t be stressed out?

Research validates that whole, plant-based foods rich, foods rich in magnesium,vitamin B, and antioxidants can help manage and calm the stress response.

1. Whole, plant-based foods

Foods kept in their natural, unprocessed state, retain those nutrients and, when consumed, help the body adapt and manage stressful situations.1

2. B Vitamins and Magnesium

In a meta-analysis of research that evaluated the effectiveness of B vitamins and magnesium, researchers concluded they both were linked to a decrease in anxiety-related symptoms, especially when compared to the placebo group.2

3. Antioxidants

Researchers are continuously finding more reasons to tout the benefits of antioxidants, those powerful gems that fight off inflammation.  Benefits of eating antioxidants now ranges from improving our skin to helping us better absorb plant-based iron3. And of course, tons of other cool things in between.

To help manage stress, get these foods in on the regular:

Examples
Whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods Leafy greens, lentils, sprouted seeds, nuts
Magnesium Spinach,squash, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils, brown rice, avocados
B Vitamins
Thiamin Macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, green peas, acorn squash
Riboflavin Almonds, mushrooms, sesame seeds, spinach
Niacin Peanuts, brown rice, mushrooms, gluten-free breads
Vitamin B6 Sweet potato, sunflower seeds, spinach, banana
Folate Lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, asparagus, spinach
Vitamin B12 Nutritional yeast, fortified gluten-free cereals

This week’s weekday menu:

Easy Recipes (Breakfast, Lunch, Snack and Dinner)
Monday Overnight Oats, Mason Jar Salad, Peaches and Greens Smoothie, Grilled Caesar Salad
Tuesday Overnight Oats, Mason Jar Salad, Pumpkin Chai Smoothie, Cauliflower Fried Rice
Wednesday Overnight Oats, Mason Jar Salad, Walnut and Mushroom Tacos
Thursday Overnight Oats, Mason Jar Salad, Brown Rice Balls, Cauliflower Fried Rice (leftovers!)
Friday Overnight Oats, Mason Jar Salad, Nutritional Yeast Popcorn, Walnut and Mushroom Tacos (leftovers!)

Grocery list

Produce Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, avocado, limes, lemons, parsley, mint, cilantro, beets, corn, carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, garlic
Refrigerated section Silk Almondmilk or Cashewmilk, EarthBalance Vegan Butter
Bulk Oats, cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, dried fruits, corn (for popping), dried shredded coconut, walnuts, quinoa, brown rice
Grocery Coconut oil, lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, nutritional yeast, dried herbs,
maple syrup, Dijon mustard, olive oil, miso, red wine vinegar, corn tortillas, canned pumpkin
Frozen Berries, veggies
Other Pickles, tempeh, tofu, wine, Vega Essentials or Vega Protein & Greens

References

  1. Higdon J, Drake VJ. (2012). An Evidence-Based Approach to Vitamins and Minerals: Health Benefits and Intake Recommendations. Thieme. 2nd ed.
  2. Lakhan, S., Vieira, K. (2010). Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review. Nutrition Journal. 9:42. Accessed on 10/28/14 from:http://www.nutritionj.com/content/9/1/42
  3. 2. National Institute of Health. (2013) Vitamin C: Health Professional Fact Sheet. Accessed 9/9/15 fromhttp://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/