Have you ever had your mood magically lifted by eating certain foods? Well, that’s because the foods we eat day to day can have a huge impact on our mood and emotional state. A runners diet is important no matter your goal but with Easter Sunday here, it’s likely a few of us will indulge in our favourite chocolate treats.
What might be more important is a runners psyche. April’s is Stress Awareness Month so we have 5 top stress-busting foods with chocolate #1! Nutritionist Cassandra Barns talks us through the list and how you can enjoy your Easter guilt free.
Yes, you read it right – chocolate can help you cope with stress. But not because of the comforting sugar hit. Cocoa (or cacao, in its raw form) is high in magnesium, which helps to calm the nervous system, and contains a natural chemical called phenylethylamine (PEA) that’s associated with good mood. So, for the best stress-busting effects, go for a high-cacao, lower-sugar dark chocolate.
Oats are a great food when it comes to coping with stress. They provide slow-releasing carbohydrates that help keep our blood sugar on an even keel, preventing peaks and dips. A lot of runners swear by oats and other slow release carbohydrates as their staple food for race day. Those peaks and dips can actually trigger more stress hormones to be released and play havoc with our mood and energy, try Nairn’s Gluten-Free Scottish Porridge Oats.
One of our best natural sources of magnesium and calcium – both of which can help calm the nervous system.
When you’re looking for a pick-me-up, coffee can be the obvious choice. But its over-stimulating effect can increase our body’s stress response and just make things worse! Green tea is a much better choice: although it does provide a small amount of caffeine, it also contains L-theanine, which has been found to have a relaxing effect on the mind, reduce anxiety, and help with focus and concentration.
These super-seeds are a fantastic source of both magnesium and zinc. Although zinc doesn’t have the direct nerve-relaxing effect that magnesium can, lack of zinc in our diets may contribute to stress-related problems such as anxiety and depression. They’re also a great source of protein, healthy fats and fibre that can help to keep blood sugar stable. As well as snacking on pumpkin seeds, try Clearspring’s Pumpkin Seed Protein powder – add to smoothies or stir into your porridge.