Another great lifestyle post from iVillage with 30 calming foods.
Here are some of my favourites:
Chard is something that gets delivered a lot in my weekly veggie box. It doesn’t always look the most enticing of feeds – a bit like a big spinach leaf with a thick white chewy stalk. However, being packed full of the human anti stress mineral, magnesium, it does have some amazing relaxing properties for the human psyche. Being deficient in magnesium can also result in high blood pressure, head aches and problems with blood sugar. You can eat it steamed or sauteed.
Cauliflower contains lots of fibre so is great for a healthy digestion – something which be adversely affected if you suffer from stress. Whilst most people will just boil or steam it and serve in lumps, Ruf and I have discovered the joys of mashing. Add a little bit of olive oil and it is the most creamy topping for a shepherds pie or as an accompaniment to a veggie burger or even lamp chop.
Brocolli has more vitamin C than an orange and is also a rich source of both vitamin A and potent antioxidants that help your body manage everyday stress. Like cauliflower, you can eat it steamed, boiled or stir fried… but it also makes the most amazing mash too. Sometimes I have combined lots of these vegetables in an accompanying mash.
Spinach contains vitamins A, C, K and folate plus minerals like manganese and iron. When you’re stressed, spinach and brocolli can help the adrenal glands (where the stress hormones are stored) to top up their depleted levels of vitamin C. Like chard, you would never have got me eating this up until I was 40. However, I wish I had got over my fear of turning muscled like Popeye through eating the slimy veg boiled! Steamed or stirfried or used with lettuce to make a great salad, it is delicious.
Asparagus is not only high in antioxidants but also a good source of tryptophan, an important amino acid that the body uses to make serotonin, which helps us sleep and supports a healthy mood. It can also help to prevent the panic attacks that are caused by Serotonin deficiency. I recall having the most delicious freshly cut asparagus tips, microwaved with a knob of butter and then eaten in the garden on a sunny spring evening in Kent. They are, however, wellknown for making your wee smell vile so not recommended for a romantic evening that you intend to follow with some oral examination of your partner’s nether regions.
Sweet potatoes were introduced to me by Ruf as well. Being a follower of GI diets, he said they release far more slowly and are therefore better for you than regular potatoes. They are an excellent source of beta-carotene, dietary fibre and potassium (which can protect your body from the effects of stress), especially if you leave the skin on. We have had them boiled, mashed, roasted and as chips.
Coconut Water is one of Ruf’s latest passions. He buys green coconuts and uses a hatchet to break them open on the kitchen floor. The water contains lots of potassium and magnesium and not added sugar. I have been told that, in those climates where they grow naturally, women have been known to feed this to newborn babies as it is still sterile and is very close in composition to breast milk.
Turmeric is bright yellow and related to the ginger root. It contains a compound that suppresses inflammation and supports the health of the liver called curcumin. It is often put into curries but can be used in regular dishes as well. Ruf is a big fan!
How has your diet changed in the last twenty years?