We held our first Wellness Workshop at Savannah Sport and Wellness this month courtesy of our nutritionist Sondra Tackett! Sondra discussed in this hourlong workshop the causes of stress and the physiological effects it has on the body. The hormone shifts from stress can make you crave certain foods, which Sondra provided information on how to satisfy those cravings. Additional key points included dispelling shameful feelings around food and how to work towards enjoying all foods, because eating should be enjoyable!

Here is a list of foods from her handy worksheet, “Stress Busters: Foods for Relaxation”. Bookmark this post or download her sheet so you can have it handy.

Vitamin C-Rich Foods: Foods high in vitamin C such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli and Brussels sprouts can help combat stress by fighting brain-cell damage resulting from constant exposure to cortisol, a stress hormone.

Nuts: Nuts are rich in magnesium, a nutrient associated with keeping cortisol levels low. They also contain zinc, a key nutrient in maintaining a balanced mood.

Berries: Berries contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins linked to positive health outcomes including improved cognition and mood.

Avocados: The monounsaturated fats and potassium in avocados help lower high blood pressure associated with stress. They are also rich in glutathione, a substance that blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause cell damage.

Teas: Tea, especially green and chamomile, contain compounds that bind to brain receptors and calm. Chamomile tea is a gentle relaxant that acts as a nerve tonic and sleeping aid. Green tea contains an amino acid called theanine that can enhance mental performance.

Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate contains compounds that produce mood-boosting endorphins. Be mindful of portion size and look for at least 70% cocoa content to reap the greatest benefits.

Whole grains: Complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal and quinoa cause the brain to produce serotonin, a feel-good chemical that has antioxidant properties and creates a soothing feeling to help overcome stress.

Salmon: Salmon and other cold-water fish such as mackerel, sardines, and anchovies contain amino acids, which prevent the breakdown of lean muscle mass associated with bodily stress. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, anti-inflammatory compounds that can combat elevated stress hormones and vitamin B12, which helps form GABA, a calming neurotransmitter.

Leafy Greens: Leafy greens such as spinach, kale and arugula contain folic acid, which helps make dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.

As if this list wasn’t gold enough, Sondra’s also provided Stress busting recipes for you! Just can’t get enough? Sondra is taking new clients. Learn more about how nutrition can round out your total wellness with Sondra by emailing info@savannahsportandwellness.com or calling 912-307-9203.

Sondra Tackett’s Wellness Workshop posterSondra at the Nutrition HealthWorks table