Want to Lower Your Stress Levels?

Whatever the cause, most of us would probably like a little less stress in our lives. and while getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and scheduling in some time to relax are all highly recommended and beneficial if you’re looking to de-stress, there is one thing you should stay away from if you’re serious about cutting it out of your life.

You probably add salt to your food without even thinking, and you almost certainly consume more than you realise when you’re not eating food you have prepared and cooked for yourself. Despite knowing that too much salt is bad for heart health amongst other things, too much salty food is one of the worst things you can eat if you’re already constantly stressed. According to a joint study by the British Heart Foundation and Kidney Research UK, overeating salty foods and regularly snacking on nuts and crisps isn’t just damaging your organs but your mental health too. That’s because salt raises cortisol levels, which is the primary stress hormone and what gets triggered in our stress response. According to the study, as well as raising cortisol levels initially, salt can also change the way the brain and body deals with stress, perpetuating the cycle of destruction and causing more of it.

So next time you’ve had a hard day at work, or your inbox is threatening to spiral out of control, don’t reach for the salty snacks. Instead, if you need a comforting treat, a bit of dark chocolate is a much better idea. Full of antioxidants, it triggers the relaxation of blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and improves your circulation. If you prefer something savoury, try snacking on a handful of edamame beans. High in folate, they relax your mood and recharge your energy levels.