Posted by THE FUEL Nutrition Editorial Staff on March 11, 2016
One of the ways stress hurts us the most is in our athletic abilities. Studies show that both maximal strength and endurance are tremendously reduced when our stress hormones are elevated. If that’s not bad enough, we gain body fat and lose both muscle and strength when we’re under intense pressure
This article will give you the secrets of winning athletes to beat stress and keep your brain and body in peak form.
It’s so easy to think you have no time to stop for a meal, when the going gets tough. Plus, when you’re in the thick of it and you have cortisol and adrenaline pumping through your body, hunger is often reduced. It’s only later that hunger hits with a vengeance. Having regularly planned, healthy meals can reduce the negative effects of stress by resetting your hormonal cascade and improving your body’s biological circadian rhythm.
#2: Turn to protein, healthy fats, and veggies during the day.
Have you ever fought stress by eating high-carb foods, experienced a sugar crash, and turned to caffeine and more carbs, only to feel terrible, hungry, and anxious? If so, that’s because what you choose to eat is just as important as remembering to eat. It’s worth the effort to plan out frequent meals of protein, fat, and low-carb veggies to head off cravings and balance your hormones.
Here are some examples: A piece of steak or fish, turkey slices, an egg, yogurt, beans on a salad, sautéed or steamed greens or cauliflower, nuts, or a mixture of berries. Keep a protein and a greens powder handy for super busy times.
#3: Eat some whole-food carbs at night.
There’s a funny myth that says that carbs shouldn’t be eaten at night because they’ll supposedly turn to fat. In fact, healthy carbs at night can promote relaxation and restful sleep. Include starch-based plants (sweet potatoes, beets, carrots), beans, boiled grains, and fruit in your evening meal to boost mood and give you an edge on a great night’s rest.
#4: Use caffeine wisely.
Caffeinated coffee can be a blessing. But, it can also be a curse if you overdo it or are suffering a lot of anxiety along with your stress. That’s because caffeine will elevate cortisol, especially when you’re mega dosing it all day long.
#5: Remember to hydrate.
Water is a much underrated stress reducer. Hydrating is the number one thing you can do for recovery from intense exercise because it aids body temperature regulation and affects cortisol release in the body. It’s easy to forget to hydrate when you’re crazed. Drink from a 32-ounce water bottle and make it a habit to have to fill it up at least three times a day.
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