When our lives get busy and stress takes over, we tend to indulge in comfort foods. Most comfort foods don’t actually reduce your level of stress, however, there are some foods that can.
Vitamins and Minerals
Foods that are high in vitamin C can help give your immune system a boost when you’re stressed. They can also help lower cortisol levels in your body, which is the stress hormone. Oranges, berries, kale, peppers, and kiwi have a lot of vitamin C in them. Blueberries contain a lot of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Magnesium is also good for handling stress. Low levels of magnesium can cause bad moods, fatigue, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Leafy green vegetables like spinach contain a lot of magnesium. Beans and brown rice have a lot, too.
Folate is also important because it helps produce dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical. Spinach and other leafy greens contain a lot of folate. Asparagus is another good source of folate.
Avocados also have a lot of folate and other vitamins and minerals in them like B vitamins which help keep nerves and brain cells healthy. They also contain a lot of potassium which helps keep blood pressure low.
Oatmeal is a complex carb that doesn’t spike blood sugar because the body digests it slowly.
It’s also warm and comforting. Add some berries and nuts and it could be a good way to help your brain generate serotonin, a destressing neurotransmitter.
Make it with milk and increase the stress-relieving powers. Milk contains a lot of antioxidants and B vitamins. The protein lactium has a calming effect on the body and there is also a lot of potassium in a glass of milk.
Nuts and Seeds
The hand-occupying task of shelling nuts can help reduce stress in some ways, but the nuts inside also have stress-relieving benefits.
Pistachios contain phytonutrients that help support cardiovascular health.
Almonds also contain a lot of vitamins B2 and E which help the immune system during stressful times.
Cashews contain a lot of zinc, a mineral that helps reduce anxiety. They also contain a lot of omega-3s and protein. But cashews and other nuts also have a lot of calories, so eat them in moderation.
Flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds contain a lot of magnesium.
This is the advice we’ve all been waiting for. A bite of dark chocolate can help reduce stress hormones. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Look for the kinds of dark chocolate that have at least 70 percent cocoa. Remember, a bite, not the entire bar.
What to Avoid
To keep stress levels regulated, avoid refined sugars. They give a quick boost of energy and then a sugar low follows. The same happens with white carbs like potato chips, flour, bread, and pasta.
Caffeine can also cause jitters, heart palpitations, and insomnia if stress levels are already high. Opt for decaf or herbal teas instead. Many herbal teas can help reduce stress hormones.
If you need help reaching your nutritional goals, the professionals at B3 Medical can help. Contact us today.
We’re well into the new year, and if you’re one of the thousands who made a commitment to lose weight in 2018, and have been practicing a healthier diet, you should be down a few pounds by now. If you made significant changes to your eating habits and haven’t seen any results, here are a few reasons why this might be happening.
Underestimation and Overestimation
The weight might not be coming off because of your estimation skills. You might be underestimating how many calories you’re consuming and overestimating how many you are actually burning.
It’s easy to forget what we put into our mouths each day. Keeping track of what you actually eat with a food diary can help you be more aware and lose more weight. Estimating portion size instead of using a scale can get you off track. Weighing food can help you better estimate calorie intake and keep you from eating too much.
Overestimating how many calories you burn during a workout can also keep you from losing weight. If you reward yourself with a big meal or a smoothie after every workout, you might be eliminating any benefit you just got from the gym.
Watch out for high sugar sports drinks, protein bars, some vitamin waters, and mixed coffee drinks – they typically have a lot of calories.
Not Enough Sleep
Our bodies need time to recharge. If the body does not get enough sleep, it can go into a carb and fat-craving cycle. Too much sleep can also be a problem. Too much or too little sleep can throw off the hormones that control appetite and hunger.
To figure out how much sleep you need, for about a week, try going to bed about eight hours before you need to wake up. If you wake up before the alarm, you might be able to get by with less sleep. If you hit snooze, you might need a bit more sleep.
Exercising is the key to losing weight, but the wrong kinds of exercise might be keeping you from losing weight. The more muscle you have, the more fat you can burn.
Lifting weights or resistance training is a good way to keep or build muscle mass. It can also prevent your metabolism from slowing down. At the same time, don’t skip cardio. It’s an effective way to improve your health and burn a large amount of calories.
Get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week and mix up the routine a bit. Your body adapts to a workout over time, and it won’t have as much impact.
Drinking the Wrong Things
Water is one of the body’s favorite things. Drinking too little of it can keep you from losing weight. One study shows people who drank 500ml of water 30 minutes before each meal lost more weight than people who did not. Drinking water can also boost your metabolism.
Alcohol, in particular, is a drink that has a lot of calories. Therefore, drinking too much could sabotage weight loss.
Just make sure you’re aware of the amount of calories in a certain drink before consuming it – you might be drinking more calories than you think.
We like things to happen quickly in our lives, and sometimes weight loss just isn’t one of them. The focus shouldn’t be on losing a lot of weight in a small amount of time, but rather developing healthy eating habits that can be maintained over a long period of time, which can also end in weight loss.
Setting a goal weight can also be counter-productive. Instead, try focusing on a goal body fat percentage.
If you want to talk with someone about losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the professionals at B3 Medical can help. Give us a call today.
For an active person, an injury can really mess things up. It can mean watching while others seem to be having all the fun. Getting back in the game can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be.
How to Take Care of a Sports Injury
Find Out What Happened
Did you overdo it a bit and hurt yourself or is it an injury? If the pain does to not go away with the standard stuff like rest or over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, go to a doctor and get a diagnosis.
Playing through pain can cause more damage down the road. Ignorance is not bliss. Do not ignore pain.
Once you find out what happened, make sure you understand the diagnosis, so you can hopefully avoid doing whatever you did to injure yourself.
Don’t blame yourself. It happened, and you can’t change it. You are the only one who can improve the situation, so focus on recovery rather than how the injury happened.
Stick to the rehab plan your doctors put in place. Don’t just jump right back in once the pain goes away.
Knowing how long the recovery will take can help you better understand the injury and your expectitations.
Understand Your Emotions
Taking care of the physical problem is only one part of coming back after an injury. Don’t forget about your emotional health. If you’re used to running every day and suddenly you can’t, that will feel like a loss. You may feel angry, sad, or even depressed.
An injury takes away some control over your situation, and stress and anxiety can often creep in. Understanding this can help you stay in control.
Try to stay positive and listen to what your doctors and your body are saying about your recovery. Focus on milestones you are achieving, not how it differs from what you used to be able to do.
Are there other activities you can do during your recovery? Another way to be physically active might help you feel better and stay motivated.
Maybe simple modifications to your exercise routine can help you stay in shape. Trainers, therapists, and doctors can help you figure out what can work and what you should avoid.
Set goals about how you can get back to your regular routine. Monitor the progress towards the goals to improve your confidence.
It’s also not a bad thing to rest. Many people have a tendency to over-train and don’t build much rest into their schedules. Forced rest can be good for the body and mind. Take advantage of it. Work on relaxation skills, set new goals, and focus on yourself.
If your running group is your social life and suddenly you can’t run you need to find alternatives. Even though you can’t participate in the activity, don’t isolate yourself from friends, coaches, and teammates.
Try to maintain contact with them. They can listen and offer encouragement. Who knows, maybe they have had an injury sometime and can help you recover from yours.
The trained professionals at B3 Medical can help diagnose your injury and help you along the road to recovery. Make an appointment today.
It’s a new year and that often means new weight loss goals. How do you stick to them and stay on track?
Saying you’re going to work out many hours each day or only eat lettuce isn’t an idea you’re going to stick to. Set up a goal you can achieve and plan for it.
Make a list of things you can do each day to help you achieve your goal along with milestones you want to hit. Don’t forget to include increasing energy and stamina as part of your plan. They go along with weight loss.
Think about what the goals are before the clock strikes midnight on the 31st. Outline your plan so you know what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. Stay away from making too broad of goal like saying you want to get in shape. That’s difficult to measure progress so it might be difficult to stay motivated. Goals should be both measurable and achievable.
Be careful of the words always and never as in “I will always eat healthy” and “I will never eat badly.” Thinking of diet as a pattern of eating and striving to make good choices most of the time might be a good way of looking at things.
Talk About Your Plans
Fill people in with your plans. If others know about them, they can support you and help you reach your goals. If someone else shares your same goals, work together to support each other. Reaching out to others is a good way to hold yourself accountable.
Keep track of your progress so you can stay motivated. Seeing even small positive results is a great way to stay focused.
Reassess your successes along the way and amend your goals if necessary. Small and specific goals can always become bigger as you move along.
Remember, progress is more than just a number on a scale. Healthier habits, better sleep, and lower body fat all mean you’re doing something right. Look at it as making lifelong changes for better health, not as losing weight after the holidays.
Having healthy foods in the house is a good way to keep making healthy choices. Don’t wait to go buy food until you’re hungry. That’s when everything looks good. When you go to the grocery store, buy enough snacks for the whole week so you won’t need to go to the office snack machine.
Get creative. If your resolution feels like a chore, you won’t stick to it. Eating the same meal every night is boring. Look for new meals you can make that fit within the parameters you set for your diet. The same goes for the workout part. The same routine every day gets old. Mix it up.
Be Nice to Yourself
If you slip, don’t obsess. Try your best and reward your successes. Maybe buy yourself something new or do something else you enjoy. Don’t wait until you reach the big goal you set. Celebrate milestones along the way.
It takes about three weeks for a new activity to become a habit, so things don’t happen overnight. If you lose your focus, recommit yourself. Resolutions don’t just have to happen on January 1.
If you need some advice about healthy eating or best ways to exercise, B3 Medical can help. We have nutrition counseling and other medical services available for the whole family. Learn more about our nutrition counseling.