Stress is a natural response. Short-term stress drives blood to our skeletal and heart muscles so we can fight or flee. However long-term stress is undoubtedly detrimental by suppressing our immunity, digestion and reproductive health. We can’t avoid stress, but we can help our bodies handle it better.
Research reiterates how important protein can be in keeping us calm. It helps regulate our blood sugar levels, our energy levels, and our moods. In one study, university students were given either a high protein breakfast, or a high carbohydrate breakfast before facing a battery of stressful tests. The group given protein had lower stress hormones at the end of the day than those who had consumed carbs. Other studies have replicated the benefits of eating breakfast for blood pressure, blood sugar regulation, cholesterol levels and daytime stress hormone levels.
Breakfast protein choices might in include yoghurt, cow’s or other milk, linseeds, or almond/hazelnut/cashew meal. A high-protein smoothie is an easy and fast breakfast idea. Avoid those processed, pre-packaged breakfast drinks which are outrageously high in sugar and additives.
Stress also depletes the body of vitamin C as it’s used by the adrenal glands to make stress hormones. We primates are one of the few species that cannot make our own vitamin C so it must come from our diets.
Natural sources include strawberries, mangoes, kiwi fruit, rockmelon, paw paw, citrus fruit, plus veggies like parsley, green capsicum and sweet potato.