Stress takes more than just an emotional toll on a person; stress has direct physiological results, including an increase in blood pressure, an increase in hormonal activity and an overall decline in the functioning of the immune system. In addition, stress leads people to engage in behavior that is harmful to their health, including poor eating habits and decreased sleep.
We tend to think of emotional eating, or “stress eating,” as a bad thing. But nourishing your nerves can counteract the damage that chronic pressure does to your body. So when all hell breaks loose, calmly reach for a handful of nature’s bounty: nuts.
Try almonds, which are bursting with vitamin E. This antioxidant helps to boost the immune system and is known to have properties which alleviate stress. Almonds also contain B vitamins, which work on several different parts of the body to provide stress-coping mechanisms. In short, almonds may help your body hold up during seriously unpleasant events. Just a quarter cup a day is all you need. Try replacing your PB&J sandwich with AB&J!
If you’re not an almond lover, shell some pistachios or crack open some walnuts; both will help keep your heart from racing when you’ve had it up to here. When stress fires, the adrenaline hormone raises blood pressure to boost energy (so you’re prepared to run like the wind if you need to). Because this fleeing aid is rarely necessary, it’s probably better to reduce that strain on your heart. A study conducted at Penn State University concluded that eating about a handful of pistachios or an ounce of walnuts lowers your blood pressure whether you’re at rest or feeling stressed.
So when the stress runs high, eat some nuts — with yogurt, fruit salad, or on their own — then you can breathe (easier).