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Superfoods Vs. Comfort Foods: What Is Better For Stress?

Dorathy Gass

Sometimes when we are stressed out, a person’s natural reaction is to head to the kitchen and seek out comfort foods like chocolate, ice cream, or a piping-hot bowl of mac and cheese. Still, a new study reveals that you may want to reach for superfoods, versus comfort foods, to help ease that stress level.

But, what exactly are superfoods? Well, as per the National Institutes of Health, they are foods that can offer health benefits beyond main nutrients. As the author of Unhealthy Anonymous, Pete Sulack (also an expert on stress) states superfoods can increase glutathione in an individual; an amino acid responsible for detoxification. He goes on to note that superfoods detoxify and add nourishment so that they can help battle stress.

But can they positively affect one’s mood as well? As per Kate Brookie, PhD candidate from the University of Otago, New Zealand notes, whole foods, especially those veggies and fruits, can offer your brain nutrients needed around the process that involves an individual’s well-being and mood.

Brookie offers vitamin C as an example. It helps to produce dopamine, a hormone that is linked to drive and motivation, adding that carbs and B vitamins are connected with the fusion of serotonin, a chemical messenger that affects a person’s mood, day-to-day. Research that was published in 2001 indicated that vitamin C, sometimes referred to as ascorbic acid, can also help to decrease hormone levels linked to stress, within individuals.

But what are the best of the best when it comes to the superfoods you should reach for if you are dealing with anxiety or stress? Experts say to choose items like leafy greens, kale, celery, broccoli, oily fish (e.g. salmon), fermented items, and nuts, as well as those organic berries with increased vitamin C.

Still, for the recent research, CNN reported that the team gathered about 120 young and healthy adults. Sixty individuals were provided with vitamin C doses daily over 14 days, while another 60 participants were simply offered placebo during that same time. The study team reviewed cortisol and blood pressure levels via saliva samples. What they found was that the adults who were given vitamin C had a decrease in their systolic blood pressure, as well as a higher recovery when it came to the cortisol levels, versus those who were taking the placebo. The ones with the vitamin C also stated they experienced lowered psychological stress.

So, when you are feeling down in the dumps, instead of reaching for those chips, you may think about changing that option to kale chips. Not only will you feel better physically, but clearly it will help you feel good mentally as well!

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