Many of us try to lower stress through meditation, exercise, and relaxation, but few of us look to see how the food that we eat can contribute to stress in the body. Here are my top 6 tips on eating for Stress-Free health!
1. Pesticides/herbicides: These structures often act like foreign agents in the body, making them “one more thing” the body has to process and get rid of, thereby stressing the body.
To remedy: Seek out eco-grown or organic foods, and especially when it comes to the highly sprayed dirty dozen (fruits/veg with thin skin, like grapes), try to buy organic whenever possible.
2. GMO foods: Nature itself doesn’t combine Fish DNA with a tomato, but we do this in labs. Gmo crops require more processing by the body since the body has to decipher the components of that food (which takes work). As they’re not found in nature that way, the body reacts to them differently than naturally found and non-gmo foods.
To remedy: Seek out non-gmo foods and read labels to make sure you are not ingesting GMO foods.
3. Heavily charred foods: These are carcinogenic by nature and should be avoided (such as blackened, grilled foods). The charring creates free-radical compounds in the body and leads to oxidative stress.
To remedy: Avoiding charred foods and increasing foods high in antioxidants (berries, superfoods, colorful foods) help to combat the effects of free radicals.
4. Heavily cooked foods: Heating in excess, roasting, baking, and cooking for long periods of time cooks off high percentages of vitamins and enzymes (except for in some cases.) If the food is ingested without their naturally occurring enzymes (such as in raw foods), the body then has to borrow enzymes from its reserves; the process takes longer and is more taxing on the body versus eating foods that already contain intact digestive enzymes.
To remedy: Try to eat foods in their most natural state, raw or lightly steamed, therefore keeping the vitamins and enzymes intact.
5. Eating far from the source: Processed foods are considered “far from the source” since they are no longer recognizable foods – imagine apple pie versus an apple. Apples grow on trees; apple pies require more work (and therefore, the body has to work harder to decipher what it is). The farther it is from its original state, the longer it takes to digest it. Another example: eating brown rice is better than brown rice crackers or brown rice pasta. If it requires more processing to make, then the body requires more time and activity to break it down.
To remedy: Choose recognizable foods, such as things that grow on trees, on or in the ground.
6. Eating out of season: strawberries don’t grow in the winter time, but we ship them from places that do grow them. There’s a reason it’s important to eat what nature provides in that moment: in the winter time, we have warming root veggies and immune-boosting greens (since we need them). The summer time gives us loads of fresh raw fruits and veggies, which are cooling (since we need them).
To remedy: Eat what’s in season and your body will thank you.