'Go Green' and Get Serene During National Stress Awareness Month
"We can't avoid all the stressors in our lives, but my research has shown that eating nuts (such as pistachios, walnuts) and fruits and vegetables high in potassium can reduce your body's biological response to stress," says Dr. Sheila West, researcher at Penn State.
According to the American Psychological Association, stress can be a reaction to a short-lived situation, such as being stuck in traffic, or can last a long time if you're dealing with serious situations. Stress becomes dangerous when it interferes with your ability to live a normal life over an extended period.
An APA poll on the causes of stress reports that two-thirds (66 percent) of Americans identify the economy as a significant source of stress in their lives and three-quarters (75 percent) are stressed by money. In addition, almost one half of Americans (48 percent) report that job stability is a significant cause of stress. Being aware of stress is important, but these triggers may be unchangeable.
"Stress affects the body physically just as much as it does mentally," says Green Nut Ambassador and Livestrong.com Nutrition Advisor Alyse Levine, MS, RD. "When you can't change your circumstances to reduce stress, the best thing to do is take care of your body through diet, exercise and adequate sleep."
The Green Way to Cope
Alyse offers these tips to help combat stress in healthy ways:
Spend time with others. Often times when people are stressed, they cut out quality time with friends and family to make time for work. Making time for loved ones can be calming and restorative to your health, actually making you more productive when you get back to work.
For more advice from Alyse on how to get healthy and staying stress-free this April, visit www.thegreennut.org.
The Green Nut
The Green Nut (TM) and TheGreenNut.org is a nutrition awareness campaign sponsored by the Western Pistachio Association (WPA). Based in Fresno, California, the WPA is a voluntary association representing pistachio growers throughout the country. Founded in 1980, it is the only voluntary organization representing U.S. pistachio growers' interests. It is governed by an 18 member board elected from a variety of states with the shared goal of increasing national awareness about the nutritional benefits of U.S. grown pistachios. For more healthy tips, visit www.thegreennut.org, or follow The Green Nut on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thegreennut.
(1) S. G. West1, C. D. Kay1,2, S. K. Gebauer3, D.M. Savastano1,2, C. M. Diefenbach1, P.M. Kris-Etherton2,3. Pistachios reduce blood pressure and vascular responses to acute stress in healthy adults 2007. American Society of Nutrition Annual Meeting in Washington, DC S1Departments of Biobehavioral Health, 2Nutritional Sciences, 3Integrative Biosciences, Pennsylvania State University
-- Incorporate pistachios - the only green nut. A study conducted by Penn State suggests that eating pistachios may reduce your body's response to stresses of everyday life, such as high blood pressure. -- Swap out processed snacks and meals with unprocessed foods. Consuming fresh produce, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and lean protein is the best way to gain the nutrients that your body needs when under pressure. -- Exercise at least three times a week. Not only does exercise keep you healthy and boost your energy levels, it's a great alternative to snacking on unhealthy foods as a way to relieve stress. -- Find a "happy place." Finding a positive outlet for your stress can be very beneficial to your overall health. Instead of going out for a drink after work, go for a walk in the park, take a yoga class or meditate.
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