If you’ve been stress eating junk food lately and are thinking of going on a diet to lose the excess pounds you’re now carrying, you might be thinking about giving up carbs. Some diets encourage you to cut out carbohydrate-laden foods completely, while others ask you to restrict them to a certain number of grams each day. But if you are overweight and suffering from stress, giving up carbs is the last thing you should be doing.
Why? Because some of the foods that you will be giving up can actually help reduce your stress levels. This, in turn, can help your metabolism to recover and get you back on the path to a healthy weight without giving up an important food group.
In this article, we will look at some of the best carbohydrate foods you can eat to help prevent stress in the first place and fight it if it has already taken hold.
Whole Wheat Bread
Eating bread made from whole grains can help lower stress by increasing the level of serotonin in your brain to lift your mood. It’s not just bread that can help though. Any food made from whole grains can help reduce anxiety thanks to the levels of tryptophan and magnesium they contain.
White rice is high on the glycaemic index and is proven to help you sleep better. A good night’s sleep is vital to good health and is especially important if you are suffering from stress. You can eat any type of white rice to feel the benefits of falling asleep quickly after eating it, but research has shown that Jasmine Rice does the best job of ensuring rapid slumber.
Sweet potatoes, or kumara as they are also known, are another good source of tryptophan. They also contain a healthy dose of both magnesium and potassium which can help lower stress-induced high blood pressure. You can eat sweet potatoes in the same ways as white potatoes, but you will get a lot more nutrition from these brightly colored starchy root vegetables, and keep stress at bay to boot.
Chickpeas are off the menu if you are following a diet that restricts the carbohydrates you can eat. But a serving of hummus with some whole grain crackers can help ensure you get a good night’s sleep so you can fight off stress better. Chickpeas are an excellent source of sleep-inducing tryptophan, as well as being high in protein and a rich source of fiber essential for gut health and digestion.
Porridge oats, or oatmeal as you may know it is not a food you should consider cutting out, despite its high carbohydrate profile. Oatmeal is beneficial in increasing levels of the feel-good hormone serotonin, resulting in a feeling of calm and reduced stress. The really good thing about oatmeal is the variety of ways you can incorporate it into your diet. Try a bowl of cooked oatmeal with almond milk, walnuts and blueberries in the morning, or make up a batch of oatmeal cookies and snack on a couple whenever you need a stress-busting snack.
Bananas have been perfectly packaged by Mother Nature as a healthy and nutritious on the go snack. If you decide not to eat bananas to cut out the carbs, you are not only missing out on their delicious natural sweetness; you are also depriving yourself of their mood-boosting tryptophan and gut healthy fiber.