Paul Abraham: Six stress-busting food tips

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By Bramley’s Paul Abraham, of www.headingonwards.com

As the “lockdown” continues then it is no surprise our stress-levels are rising quicker and with more frequency than usual. 

The following quick tips come from my Mindfulness coaching background and will hopefully prove useful for you.  To add to the experience really take your time and concentrate 100% on smelling or tasting in that special moment.

1. Sniff an Apple

If you like the smell of green apples, embracing their aroma may help alleviate headaches, according to preliminary research. In one small study, people with chronic migraines reported some pain relief after inhaling green-apple fragrance at the start of a headache.

2. Sip on Tea

Drinking caffeinated black, green or oolong tea varieties may elicit a more alert state of mind, says a study in The Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers think theanine – an amino acid present in these tea varieties – may work synergistically with caffeine to improve attention and focus. To reap the benefits, the study’s results suggest drinking five to six (eight-ounce) cups of tea daily.

3. Inhale Lavender

In one study, British researchers randomly assigned 340 dental patients to one of two groups.

In the first, they diffused lavender oil with a ceramic candle warmer before the start of morning and afternoon clinics. With the second group the lavender oil was replaced with water.

Their findings: the group exposed to the lavender scent reported significantly lower anxiety levels. And if it works during dental appointments, who’s to say it can’t work during other stressful times?

4. Cut Into a Coconut

When you’re stressed, the scent of coconut may blunt your natural “fight or flight” response, slowing your heart rate.

People who breathed in coconut fragrance in a small pilot study at Columbia University saw their blood pressure recover more quickly after a challenging task.

The researchers speculate that inhaling a pleasant scent enhances alertness while soothing our response to stress.

5. Pack Some Peppermint

Overwhelmed by a full fridge? A little peppermint may help you stave off the urge to overdo it.

When researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia evaluated hunger levels of peppermint sniffers versus non-sniffers, they found that those who wafted peppermint oil under their nose every two hours rated their hunger level lower, experienced fewer cravings and ate significantly less.

“While the greatest effect from peppermint comes through inhaling the scent, peppermint gum, mints and flavored water have been found to produce similar effects,” says Bryan Raudenbush, Ph.D., lead researcher and associate professor of psychology

6. Nibble on Chocolate

Recent research shows eating dark chocolate can help reduce levels of cortisol and catecholamines (hormones associated with stress), especially for those with high anxiety.

Go easy, though: chocolate is calorically dense—eating too much can pack on the pounds and that can lead to more stress.

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