Stress in Daily Life
In today’s fast paced world, we may be technologically advanced but our mental, physical and spiritual problems have increased dramatically and our stress levels have reached new heights. Whether due to finances, studies or workplace we all face stress on a regular basis. However when the body is forced to experience continuous stress it can lead to headaches, high blood pressure, chest pain, insomnia and may also worsen any existing disease.
Mostly, our first reaction when we are overcome with stress is to look for an easy solution such as alcohol or medications. Not only is this a dangerous trend, it also puts you at risk of adverse effects of medications besides making you dependent on the drugs.
That is why more and more people are looking for safer and more natural solutions to combat stress. Consuming natural beverages like kava tea, green tea and warm milk or drink supplements in the market which have a calming effect on the body is becoming increasingly popular.
Chamomile tea is a very popular herbal tea that has its origins in Europe and has been widely used to treat stress, anxiety and insomnia. It is known to calm your nervous system, relax the muscles and help you get a good night’s sleep especially if taken before bed time.
After a long day at work, the warm, soothing nature of this beverage can help increase the levels of the hormones serotonin and melatonin in your body which help to reduce your stress and worry and get a good night’s sleep.
Method of Chamomile Tea Preparation
Put a chamomile tea bag or chamomile flowers in hot water and steep for three to five minutes. Then, drink the infusion when it has cooled.
Drinking warm milk at night in order to get a good night’s sleep is an age old tradition which is familiar to most Indians.
Milk contains the amino acid tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter which helps to improve your mood as well as have a calming effect. Also the warm temperature exerts a calming and soothing effect on the body. This is especially useful when you are stressed out after a hard day’s work and need to get good quality sleep. You can also add one teaspoon of turmeric to the warm milk for added anti inflammatory benefit.
Tart cherry juice is made from the fruit of the Prunus cerasus tree, which is native to southwest Asia and Europe. Tart cherries have become increasingly popular due to their health benefits. Tart cherries are naturally rich in melatonin, a hormone which helps to regulate your sleep cycles.
Tart cherries also contain a good amount of compounds tryptophan and anthocyanins that help the body create melatonin which helps to improve sleep quality. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2010 showed that regular intake of tart cherry juice helps to significantly reduce insomnia as well as reduce muscle soreness.
Kava is a beverage made from root of Piper methysticum plant. It has been used by Pacific Islanders of Hawaii, Vanatu, Fiji, Tonga and Solomon Islands since a long time. The name Kava comes from Polynesian word “awa” which means bitter.
The active chemical ingredients in Kava are compounds known as kavalactones. which affect brain chemistry in ways similar to antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs. The, most effective kavalactone for anxiety reduction is kavain. Kava helps to ease a person’s mind while maintaining clarity, offering temporary relief from anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Basically kava is a depressant; it slows down the messages between brain and the body.
Studies conducted by University of Melbourne in 2013 found that Kava could be as effective as current drug treatments with a lesser risk of dependency and side effects.
Method of Kava Tea Preparation
Pour hot water in a bowl. Put kava in a strainer bag and immerse the bag in water for ten to fifteen minutes. Lavender and chamomile may be added for additional flavor. Then, drink the infusion when it has cooled.
Two tablespoons of kava powder can also be blended into a cup of water, milk, soy milk or coconut milk for added taste and variety.
Green tea is made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis plant. Green Tea is renowned for its numerous health benefits which are believed to be due to two substances found almost exclusively in green tea, EGCG [Epigallocatechin-3-gallate] and L-theanine.
EGCG is rich in antioxidants and helps to minimize oxidative damage in cells and improve the functions of your body and brain.
L-theanine, an amino acid, is responsible for the unique flavor of green tea as well as its relaxing effects. According to a study people who took four cups of green tea daily were less likely to feel depressed. Green tea stimulates release of chemicals like serotonin and dopamine to fight depression stress and anxiety while enhancing your overall well being.
Method of preparation
Add half a tablespoon of powdered green tea leaves in 200 milliliters of water. Boil until leaves settle to the bottom. Strain before drinking. The longer you brew, the more theanine you will extract from the green tea leaves, but the more bitter the tea will become.
Oat straw comes from the green oats, Avena sativa. This traditional remedy has been used to treat nervous exhaustion and depression. Oat Straw contains Vitamin B, which has a soothing and nourishing action on the central nervous system. Regular consumption of Oats Straw helps to increase blood flow to the brain and helps you feel more alert. It has been used to support brain health, boost energy, lower the risk of cardiac disease, lower stress and reduce anxiety levels.
Method of Oat Straw Tea Preparation
Add one tablespoon of Oat Straw in 200 milliliters of boiling water and steep for ten to twenty minutes. Then, drink the infusion when it has cooled.
Fresh juice contains plenty of vitamins and minerals which help our bodies to cope with all the pressure and stress in an effective manner. Making fresh juice out of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables, floods your body with antioxidants and essential nutrients and helps the body fight and heal from the damage stress and anxiety can cause.
According to the University of Maryland, those who consume 1,000 milligrams of Vitamin C daily or more, generally react more mildly to stressful situations. Also fresh juice helps to keep your blood pressure under control. Your Cortisol [stress hormone] levels tend to be higher in the mornings, hence having fresh juice in the mornings is a great and tasty way to start the day.
Fresh juices of green leafy veggies like kale, spinach, lettuce are rich sources of Vitamin B, an important vitamin for the nerves and for stress management. Veggies like carrot, squash, tomatoes, and beetroot are abundant in Vitamin A and can be added to the green veggies for added flavor and benefit.
Coconut water is the liquid inside a tender coconut and is a popular drink all over the world for its refreshing taste along with its nutritious and health benefiting properties. It is one of the richest sources of electrolytes, chlorides, potassium and magnesium, along with dietary fiber, manganese, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin C. These help to boost energy levels, reduce stress and anxiety, help you to sleep better, relax the muscles and improve blood circulation.
Coconut water helps prevent dehydration and the potassium content benefits your blood pressure and heart function.
We all know that if you do not drink enough water your body gets dehydrated and does not function properly. The blood thickens and leads to a poor blood flow throughout the body. Endorphins [hormones that improve your mood and sense of well being] may not reach their target destinations and this may contribute to stress, anxiety and your brain may start to lose focus.
According to a research conducted by the University of Connecticut in 2012 even a loss of 1.5 percent in normal water volume in the body can alter a person’s mood, energy level and the ability to think clearly.
Lemon Balm is a herb which has a natural mint flavor with a slight lemony taste. It has been in use since the middle ages, where it was used mostly as a sedative and stress reliever.
Lemon Balm tea has a calming and relaxing effect on the body and should be taken mainly before bedtime to elevate your mood and relieve your stress and anxiety.
Method of Lemon Balm Tea preparation
Add one tablespoon of dried lemon balm leaves or two tablespoons of fresh lemon balm leaves in 200 milliliters of boiling water. Let the tea simmer for three to five minutes. Strain before drinking.
Stress is an inseparable part of our lives. How we deal with it makes all the difference. First try healthy natural recipes to relieve stress rather than turning to alcohol, anti depressant and anti anxiety drugs as a quick fix. Scientific studies have proven the efficacy of the above mentioned top ten stress relieving drinks. It is advisable to follow a healthy lifestyle which will help you tackle your stress levels in a more effective and long lasting manner.
- Kava Kava Tea Benefits - South Sea's Beverage - (http://www.kavakavatea.org/Kava-Tea-Benefits/)
Latest Publications and Research on Top 10 Drinks to Relieve Stress
- Ferrous Iron-Activated Transcriptional Factor AdhR Regulates Redox Homeostasis in Clostridium beijerinckii. - Published by PubMed
- Polydatin attenuates cadmium-induced oxidative stress via stimulating SOD activity and regulating mitochondrial function in Musca domestica larvae. - Published by PubMed
- Inhibition of Sphingolipid Synthesis as a Phenotype-Modifying Therapy in Cystic Fibrosis. - Published by PubMed
- General Anesthetic-Induced Neurotoxicity in the Immature Brain: Reevaluating the Confounding Factors in the Preclinical Studies. - Published by PubMed
- Factors associated with mental distress among undergraduate students in northern Tanzania. - Published by PubMed