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What To Do - Eat Healthy

Eating the right foods can actually counteract cortisol production, in turn relieving stress.

How does this help?

Eating healthy, well-balanced meals is critical in keeping your body resilient. Just as with exercising, eating healthy will help keep your body feeling good, so your mind can heal along with it. Eating the right foods can actually counteract cortisol production, in turn relieving stress.

It may be difficult after experiencing a trauma to limit your food intake, or maybe to eat at all. Some people have trouble eating, while others can over indulge in food to help feel better.

Eating right will not only help stabilize your mood, but give you more energy as well, which is very beneficial in coping. By giving your body what it needs to be healthy, you are nurturing your emotional resilience as well.

Many people may also turn to caffeine, sugar, alcohol, or other drugs to escape from stress. The temporary “highs” you may feel from this have long-term negative effects in the long run. By learning to not rely on these things, you will be able to deal with the grief with a clear mind, and feel better in the long run.

How can I do this?

The key in eating healthy is eating mindfully. Being aware of what you take in and what you don’t can help in itself.

There are certain foods which can help counteract the effects of cortisol.

Foods to Eat

  • High Fiber - Whole grain bread and cereals, oatmeal, beans, citrus fruits, strawberries, beets and carrots
  • Vitamin C - Helps to prevent a rise in cortisol; Green peppers, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, tomatoes, strawberries, sweet potatoes and brocolli
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids - Flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, halibut, shrimp and tofu
  • Whey Protein - Increases seratonin and lowers cortisol; Ricotta cheese and other cheeses, milk and yogurt

There are also foods which should be avoided as they raise cortisol levels.

Foods to Avoid

  • Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Illegal Substances - Causes the production of excess cortisol
  • Caffeine - Increases cortisol secretion when consuming more than 200 mg/day (on average one cup of coffee has 150 mg of caffeine)
  • Salt - Modifies an enzyme that turns cortisone into cortisol, mainly found in packaged foods, it is best to stick with whole, natural foods to avoid excess salt
  • Gluten - Can raise cortisol levels in gluten-intolerant individuals

Eating healthy can also be a source of social support as well. You can use this as an excuse to invite someone over for dinner, or try a new restaurant with a friend.