BLOG: Following a month of tax preparations and spring snow, it is likely that May flowers come blooming with the side effects of additional stress. What many people do not realize is that emotions and nutrition are closely related. Unfortunately, stress and anxiety can cause cravings for foods with unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. Hectic schedules can also lead to skipping meals, and the loss of important vitamins and minerals. On the other hand, there are several foods that can actually improve your ability to handle stress. The best part: they can be found at your neighborhood Stewart’s Shop, no fuss, stress or waiting involved!
To begin, the discussion must include Stewart’s famously flavorful coffee. Coffee is often wrongly accused of increasing anxiety. In fact, drinking coffee in moderation has been shown to increase energy and concentration lost due to stress. The caffeine found in coffee is believed to stimulate dopamine and serotonin, feel-good messengers in the brain that are targeted by antidepressant and antianxiety medications. Nevertheless, it is true that excessive caffeine consumption can lead to anxiety and poor sleep that may increase stress.
What do I recommend? The amount of caffeine the body can handle may vary by individual. Consuming one or two cups of Joe in the morning is usually a safe bet. But you don’t need to stop there! Your local Stewart’s Shop has decaf coffee out all day long. Similar to the fully caffeinated version, Stewart’s decaf coffee still contains important nutrients that can regulate blood sugar and prevent irritability that results from stress. I also suggest that everyone, and especially those plagued by stress, avoid skipping meals. Missing breakfast to get to out the door, or skipping lunch to get caught up, can further stress by depriving the body of the energy and nutrients it needs to get the job done.
My simple solution is this: avoid the stress of the morning by stopping at your local shop. In one quick stop you can grab an energizing coffee and a simple fruit and yogurt or breakfast to go. You may even consider grabbing a freshly made sandwich or ordering a sub to bring for lunch. And better yet, stop in again for a decaf coffee on your ride home, or grab some ground coffee and Stewart’s Single Serve (for use in a Keurig machine) to brew your own cup at home!
-Christine Sloat, RD, RDN
About Christine: Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, with clinical training at Albany Medical Center. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.