Relieve summertime stress with these healthy foods


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True, summertime means warm weather and vacations, but coinciding with those activities also comes stress.

Maybe it’s spending more time coordinating the kids’ schedules, working out the logistics of a vacation or facing the end of the fiscal year (for some, that’s July 1). Either way, stress can have some negative effects if we cope with it by eating unhealthy foods.

Ditch your “comfort” foods. When we're stressed, our bodies release more cortisol than usual, causing more food cravings, especially the need for carbs and sweets for women. This consumption of unhealthy food when we’re stressed increases the likelihood that we’ll store belly fat and can lead to obesity. So it’s important to understand how stress and poor eating affect our overall health.

Unsurprisingly, many of the foods that reduce stress also are the same that are recommended to improve cognitive ability and memory. They include blueberries, garlic, oatmeal, salmon, nuts and dark chocolate.

Eat your greens. Asparagus, which is high in folates; avocados, rich in glutathione, a fat-blocker in the intestines; and leafy greens, high in B vitamins, will help you keep your stress down.

Drink your liquids. Chamomile and green tea have theanine, an amino acid linked to the reduction of anxiety and promotion of sleep. That’s why Sleepytime tea makes us feel like we’re floating on a cloud. Likewise, the calcium in milk also serves as a calming agent.