The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

The Student News Site of Walt Whitman High School

The Black and White

Girls softball falls to BCC 8–1 in Battle of Bethesda
Boys lacrosse outlasts crosstown rival BCC 11–6
Girls lacrosse destroys B-CC 12–3 in the ultimate Battle of Bethesda
“Russia not only destroys our houses, but also our families”: A Q&A with Ukraine’s abducted children
MCPS grading regulations impair student performance
LIVE: Boys Lacrosse takes on Churchill

LIVE: Boys Lacrosse takes on Churchill

April 8, 2024

B-Well: Food powerhouses to lower your stress levels

We all dread exams, but this year try something that can help: stress-relieving foods. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a chill pill, but some foods contain body-boosting nutrients that can help to soothe during the most stressful moments of exam week.

Food can work miracles when it comes to taming stress. According to Livestrong, certain foods trigger brain neurotransmitters and hormones like serotonin, which causes relaxation, and melatonin, which helps with sleep.

Comfort foods, like a bowl of warm oatmeal, boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical. Other foods high in omega-3 can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that take a toll on the body over time. But an overall healthy diet can counter the impact of stress, by strengthening the immune system and lowering blood pressure, according to WebMd.

Some feel that eating when you’re stressed can be a terrible habit. But, this is only true when you reach for an unhealthy snack like a candy bar or bag of chips. Try changing your diet to include some of the foods below, and see if your stress level decreases. Chances are you’ll feel a difference when you add in these vitamin powerhouses.

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Indulge in complex carbs. All carbohydrates prompt the brain to produce more serotonin. Whole grain, high-fiber breads and pastas, beans and lentils help keep up energy levels. The more slowly your body absorbs these carbs, the more steadily serotonin flows, according to WebMd.

Crunch some veggies. Crunchy raw vegetables like baby carrots, celery and radishes are great stress reducers because the act of crunching releases tension in the jaw, according to a study by CNN.

Stock up on the protein. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids — nuts, almonds, flaxseeds, pine nuts, wild tuna and salmon — help control stress hormones. According to Women’s Health, they protect against mood disorders like depression and are important for brain function. They’re also bursting with vitamin E, an antioxidant that bolsters the immune system.

If you’re sick of almonds or hate them like I do, try pistachios or walnuts. Both will help keep your heart from racing when you tense up. We experience immediate cardiovascular responses to stress because of the ‘fight or flight’ response, according to Sheila G. West, a professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State. When stress strikes, the hormone adrenaline raises blood pressure to boost energy.

Increase your vitamin C. Vitamin C-rich foods, like oranges, reduce stress hormone levels as they boost the immune system, which is often compromised under a lot of stress. A German study in Psychopharmacology Magazine found that vitamin C helps reduce stress and return blood pressure and cortisol to normal levels after a stressful situation.

Drink some good old-fashioned tea. Tea is relaxing. One study compared people who drank four cups of tea daily for six weeks with people who drank another beverage. The tea drinkers reported feeling calmer and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after stressful situations, according to a WebMd. When it comes to stress, the caffeine in coffee can boost stress hormones and raise blood pressure.

Keep these helpful hints in mind as you freak out over your 39 tests and 62 incomplete college apps. Take the time to sit down, relax and chow down.

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