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Feeling Stressed? How certain healthy foods can help you destress.

Life happens. And sometimes it can get stressful as it's happening. For me, I sometimes will do everything else besides handle the stress. This is called procrastination to avoid what's important or what needs to be done. Then, the question becomes what is happening? Or, how do I get done what needs to be done?

My go-to's when I have lots of stress are working out and eating comfort foods. According to IDEA, the leading international membership association in the health and fitness industry, it is generally not a good idea to eat emotionally. However, eating the right foods can actually fight stress and increase serotonin.

Serotonin is considered the body's "feel-good" hormone. There are several foods that help you de-stress without adding weight and extra calories to your daily nutrition. On the contrary, there are many so-called comfort foods that are super tasty but add extra calories and sugars. Now, don't get me wrong, I love ice cream. It always makes me happy. But sometimes I feel heavy and mad at myself after eating ice cream, which is the opposite of what I was going for.

Chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, and heart disease. An example of how eating the right things can help lower the effects of chronic stress could be adding more potassium-rich foods and foods that contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps produce serotonin. Other stress-fighting foods that don't add calories icnlude turkey, shrimp, dairy, and pumpkin seeds. Several of my personal favorite vegetables are great for adding folic acid into your diet, which helps boost serotonin production, include Brussels sprouts, asparagus, and broccoli. Yum!

The same IDEA fitness handout suggested several other foods to help boost serotonin and beat the effects of chronic stress. Eating more oranges, grapefruits, red and green peppers, fruits and veggies, and vitamin D-fortified dairy products are several foods that add happiness to your life without adding extra calories.

I digress, and have to admit that sometimes, there is nothing better than chocolate. But if you're opting for a healthier option than chocolate, there is always fruit tart. Enjoy!

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