Seven Dietary Tips To Mitigate Your Stress Levels
Several weeks back, we published a blog post with seven tips in a variety of disciplines designed to help lower stress levels, which can exacerbate bruxism in those who suffer from it. We've decided to dig deeper and provide some more helpful anti-stress tips; first up, it's all about eating right...
It is of course essential that you are taking care of yourself by making sure to eat properly and limit your intake of substances – especially caffeine and alcohol – that might contribute to your tendency to grind and clench. But what types of foods offer a natural way to combat stress by nature of what they contain? We've selected these seven delicious options to get you started:
Avocado – Yes, it's definitely worth it to consider that avocado toast at brunch, and not merely because it's delicious. Avocados do contain a high amount of fat for a fruit but it is monounsaturated fat, a.k.a. the "good fat" that helps lower cholesterol when eaten in moderation. Plus, the high levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene in avocados are strong stress-relievers, so go for the guacamole next time you need a mood lift.
Leafy greens – Indeed, superfood greens such as kale and spinach have been popular in recent years for their huge nutritious properties which help fight off disease and boost energy. But dark leafy greens, particularly spinach, are also rich in folate which helps your body produce mood-regulators such as seratonin. If you're not into raw greens, they're pretty much all great wilted with lots of garlic... or just drop some spinach into your next smoothie to boost your mood!
Oatmeal – It's been well-documented that a nutritious, filling bowl of oatmeal is one of the best ways to start your day. It's a heart-healthy way to fight cholesterol, yes, but much like leafy greens the complex carbohydrates in oatmeal also trigger the release of serotonin in your brain. Add some sweet fruit and honey and it's a true comfort food.
Blueberries – Both delicious and nutritious, blueberries are one of those healthy alternatives to junk food snacks that are perfectly designed for eating out of hand when you get a little hungry. The enormous amount of antioxidants in blueberries help strengthen your body's natural "killer cells" – "a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in , critical for countering stress." (By the way look to other purple foods such as acai berries, or purple carrots or potatoes, for more antioxidant goodness.)
Salmon + other oily fish – One of the most powerful anti-inflammatories that naturally occurs in the food we eat is omega-3 fatty acids, which are hugely present in oily types of fish. Salmon is one of the most versatile and readily-available types, but ahi tuna, trout, sardines, mackerel and more are great options. And if you're just not much of a fish person, the good news is that fish oil supplements are easy to find at virtually any pharmacy or vitamin shop!
Pistachios – In addition to eating well, one of the most soothing ways to combat anxiety or stress is simple, repetitive motion. Doing something with your hands can quickly calm the brain and provide focus, so what better way to merge calm with your diet than eating pistachios. They're delicious (and easy to find in low-sodium varieties,) plus shelling them will keep your fingers busy for a spell.
Seaweed – Let's say you are a fish person, plus you just can't get enough sushi. You're in luck, because that nori that your tuna roll is wrapped in is also a great stress-buster! Seaweed is one of the few natural, edible sources of iodine, of which low levels can trigger fatigue or even depression; just one-quarter cup of seaweed is nearly 275% of the recommended daily value.
BONUS: Yogurt – We're giving you one more for the road, but including it as a bonus since many folks who are lactose-intolerant may not be able to partake of this one. Research shows that chemical interactions between the brain and the belly is why stress can contribute to gastrointestinal problems; therefore, the probiotics in yogurt can set your tummy right as well as lower some overactive brain chemistry. (If you can't handle the lactose, try fermented goodies like miso soup or kombucha instead!)
Ensuring that you are doing all that you can do in your diet to reduce stress is just one part of a treatment plan for bruxism. Always remember to brush and floss after every meal, and wear your guard when stress seems to be rising. ClearClub's custom-fit, low-cost night guards will help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching, and start as low as $80-$95 for your first guard. Plus, they are shipped directly to your door! Your teeth will thank you.