It's tax day and that might have some of you stressed out. But of course, we're always stressed.
Last week, I spoke at a luncheon and asked how many people in the audience had experienced stress in the last week -- to the point where they said out loud, or in their heads, "I'm so stressed!"
Almost everyone raised their hands. Including me. We have so many things that we're balancing that most of us feel close to the breaking point on any given day.
So, I read with interest an article in The Miami Herald this morning that said there are foods that contain nutrients that nourish the adrenal glands, which produce cortisol and adrenaline, our stress hormones.
Nutritionist/Dietician Sheah Rarback lists a few of the many nutrients important for healthy adrenals.
• Vitamin C. The body’s highest level of vitamin C is found in the adrenal glands. Like all nutrients, vitamin C has multiple functions. In addition to adrenal support, vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, critical for wound healing and collagen production, and necessary for serotonin production. Great vitamin C foods are bell peppers, papayas, citrus foods, broccoli, pineapple and Brussels sprouts.
• Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). This might not sound familiar, but as a structural component of Coenyme A, B5 is vital for the proper functioning of the adrenal glands. Best foods for B5 are shiitake and crimini mushrooms, avocados, sweet potatos and lentils.
• Omega 3 fatty acids. Best known for their anti-inflammatory benefits, omega 3 fatty acids also slow down the adrenal activation elicited by mental stress. Flaxseed, walnuts, sardines, salmon and soybeans are all rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
• Magnesium. The stress that produces cortisol also produces the adrenaline that increases heart rate, blood pressure and muscle contraction. These reactions use up magnesium. Dark greens, beans, nuts and quinoa are terrific sources for maintaining adequate magnesium intake.
Sheah says it can be tasty to support the adrenals. A spinach salad with bell peppers, orange slices, sautéed shiitakes, avocado, walnuts, quinoa and olive oil vinaigrette beautifully supplies every important nutrient.