Doctors, health experts, nutritionists, and food bloggers are always telling us not to eat sugar, gluten, or fat if we want a healthy body and mind, but they don't tell us the foods we should be eating.
If you battle stress every single day, there's a culprit involved: a stress hormone called cortisol. An imbalance of this hormone can caused you to become "an emotional eater" to make yourself feel better. The only problem is, eating the foods you crave during times of extreme stress could actually increase your cortisol levels, causing you to become even more stressed. High cortisol levels also make your body store fat faster, resulting in that dreaded "muffin top."
Luckily, there are some foods you can eat that are proven to help balance cortisol and regulate belly fat.
1. Passion Fruit
Have you ever passed up a tropical fruit that looks like a large grape at the grocery store? You might want to toss a few of the pulp-filled fruits into your cart. Passion fruit has a high vitamin C content, which will calm your body and help you fight stress. Also, it's high in fiber so it will make you feel full longer.
You'd rather eat mashed potatoes instead of turnip, am I right? You might want to substitute it. The root vegetable is high in phytochemicals and vitamin C, both of which have been known to reduce stress hormones and regulate body fat.
Papaya is another tropical fruit you'll want to snack on when you're feeling stressed. The 88mg of vitamin C and high levels of fiber make this an ideal belly fat buster and stress reducing food. Just slice it in half and scoop out the seeds - it tastes like a cross between a melon and a mango.
4. Dark Chocolate
Nope, losing weight doesn't mean you have to cut out all sweets and guilty pleasures. Antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and mood-boosting chemicals in 70% or higher dark chocolate can decrease your cortisol levels and help you maintain a healthy weight.
5. Citrus Fruits
There's a reason why experts recommend you buy fruits from the citrus family when you're feeling overwhelmed. Lemons, grapefruit, and oranges are high in vitamin C, which will slow cortisol production and help your body feel calm by reducing inflammation.
This leafy green won't make your muscles strong like Popeye, but it will give you a good dose of magnesium, which not only acts as a relaxant and sleep aid, but also will balance your stress hormones.
If you want to inhibit the production of stress hormones, experts recommend getting a good dose of zinc in your diet. One of the best ways to do this is to eat fresh oysters. And you won't need that many...only six oysters will get you a supersized dose (70mg) of zinc.
8. Brussels Sprouts
We know, you'd rather not eat brussels sprouts, but you might reconsider! The cruciferous vegetable has a whopping amount of vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, which aid healthy hormone production and weight balance.
Blueberries are the do-it-all berry when it comes to overall health. They're high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, which is a great combination to help you keep the pounds off and stress levels at a minimum. They'll also fill you up so you're not hungry for unhealthy snacks.
Although asparagus is known as a diuretic, it also has a load of other superpowers, including high levels of folate and tryptophan. While folate is essential for keeping you calm and focused, tryptophan aids in serotonin production (the "happy" hormone). Oh, and it's also high in vitamin C.
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