Epilepsy Talk

Foods That Fight Stress… | March 2, 2021

I worked as a writer in the health and wellness field for more than ten years.

So I know a thing or two about this stuff.  (And stress!)

But I also know from personal experience that epilepsy is a very unique condition.

Between all the different types of seizures, and triggers, and meds…there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

The same goes for de-stressing your diet.

What works for one might not work for another.

And it certainly doesn’t take the place of meds.

However, I do believe that although living a healthy lifestyle won’t cure you…it can certainly help you.

So, here’s some information for sensible stress-busting eating…

Nutrition

Obviously, you should get most of your vitamins from food by eating a balanced diet. But one of the most important vitamins for you to include in your diet is Folic Acid (Folate) which can help deal with vitamin loss caused by medication and also calm your mood.

However, the all-star vitamin is Vitamin B6.  This vitamin is involved in critical functions of the nervous system.  And it boosts the metabolism of various neurotransmitters which are needed for normal brain function.  The good news is that it’s easy to get it in all kinds of different foods…fresh juicy fruits like apples, oranges, grapefruits, grapes, (especially grape juice),  pineapples, peaches, pears and lemons…green leafy vegetables, carrots, peanuts, rice, milk, cereals, seeds, nuts and grain.

Now for the stress fighting superstars…

Beef

Although many people think of beef as a no-no, it contains high levels of Zinc, Iron, and B Vitamins, which are known to help stabilize your mood.  Plus Vitamin E, which when deficient from your diet, can actually encourage seizures. (Choose lean cuts like tenderloin and top sirloin to ease up on saturated fat.)

Turkey

Turkey is high in Selenium — a calming hormone.  And you don’t have to wait for Thanksgiving to dig into a good turkey sandwich or make some turkey burgers on the grill.  (Try some guacamole and salsa on them!)

Fish

Oily fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines are loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, which boost happy brain chemicals like serotonin and regulate stress hormones like cortisol.  Most types of fish are also loaded with  B6 and B12.  (A Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to depression.  And Vitamin B12 levels may be reduced by some anticonvulsant drugs!)  For lunch, try a tuna salad sandwich (with light mayo). And grilled salmon or mackerel with a side of leafy greens, is perfect for dinner.

Clams

Rich in Vitamin B12, clams are terrific on their own. (Did somebody say “Clam Bake?”) Or in soups, spaghetti sauces, and as appetizers when entertaining.

Blueberries

Rich in antioxidants, blueberries offer a high-fiber, low-calorie fruit option that is also high in stress-fighting Vitamin C.   Make a berry salad or for a quick snack or just take a handful of blueberries and enjoy.

Bananas

The Vitamin B6 in bananas is a heavy hitter when it comes to regulating stress.  And what could be easier to grab when you’re on the go?

Papaya

Yum.  Papaya contributes more Vitamins A and C, and Folic Acid to your diet.  Add it to some berry salad to super-charge your stress control.

Leafy greens

Chock full of Calcium and Magnesium, these super vegetables can have relaxing, calming effects on the body.  Have a big salad with dinner and you’ll likely sleep better that night!

Spinach

The Magnesium in spinach helps prevent your blood pressure from sky-rocketing.  It’s wonderful sautéed (with a little garlic), in salads, sandwiches and omelets.

Arugula

Arugula is a good source of  Folic Acid and great in salads, soups, or on pizzas and sandwiches.

Red Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers also contribute good amounts of Vitamins A and C and Folic Acid. Try them roasted as a side dish (my favorite), on salads, in sandwiches, soups, and in casseroles.

Asparagus

High in Folic Acid and B Vitamins which help make serotonin, a chemical that directly affects mood in a positive way.  Roasted, grilled, steamed or as a soup, it’s a happy winner.

Broccoli

Full of stress-relieving B Vitamins and Folic Acid which help relieve stress, anxiety, panic, and even depression.  Try broccoli as a side dish or a stir-fry with a few other vegetables and some beef or shrimp.  (And throw some asparagus in.)

Avocados

My favorite food in the world lowers blood pressure with its high contents of Potassium and healthy fat (monounsaturated).  It’s also low in calories and the perfect excuse to eat (or make) guacamole.  Great sliced up in salads, too.

Basil

Basil calms your nerves by helping your body resist stress and by increasing physical endurance.  Use it in any tomato or seafood dish, or on chicken, turkey, in salads, sandwiches or wraps.

Lentils

Include more lentils — in soups and salads — as a rich source of Folic Acid.  And if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they have lentils vacuum packed and ready to go.

Chickpeas

Chickpeas are also a good source of Folic Acid on salads or in hummus, with baby carrots, bell peppers, cucumber spears, or on whole wheat crackers.

Sunflower Seeds

Rich in Selenium (which has been found to significantly reduce seizures) this super snack includes Vitamin E and Folic Acid, too.  Grab them on the go or toss some in a salad for a rich stress fighting solution.  What could be easier?  (Just be sure to use dry-roasted seeds without salt, because the added sodium defeats the purpose.)

Almonds

Try crunching on almonds to get some aggression out. A good source of Vitamin B2 and E, as well as Magnesium and Zinc, almonds are high in fat, but most of the fat is unsaturated. Like Vitamin C, Vitamin E has been shown to fight the free radicals associated with stress and heart disease.

Other varieties of nuts, such as peanuts, pistachios and pecans have been shown to reduce blood pressure, boost energy and lower stress hormones, too.

Resources

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stress-relieving-foods

https://www.everydayhealth.com/anxiety-pictures/anxiety-foods-that-help-foods-that-hurt-0118.aspx

https://www.cnn.com/2021/01/23/health/stress-relieving-foods-wellness/index.html

https://www.mvtimes.com/2017/11/29/seek-solace-silence-clams/

https://www.chatelaine.com/health/diet/five-foods-that-fight-stress/

https://www.psycom.net/foods-that-help-with-anxiety-and-stress/

https://www.nc10percent.com/post/2015/05/10/10-healthy-foods-that-calm-destress

https://thebeet.com/if-you-only-eat-one-vegetable-for-the-rest-of-your-life-make-it-broccoli/

https://www.theactivetimes.com/10-superfoods-fight-stress-slideshow/slide-11

https://www.dailysabah.com/life/health/6-foods-proven-to-relieve-stress-and-reduce-anxiety


13 Comments »

  1. Funny thing is sometimes the medications actually hurt your stomach so bad you have to make yourself eat sometimes!! But I sure like this! Plus it gives me something to show my reckless eaters in my house. Thank you 😊 💗

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Kathy S.B — March 2, 2021 @ 10:03 AM

  2. Love your information! My husband and I are more aware of our diet! My seizures are nill or very few. The only thing we don’t add into our diet is clams. We use clam juice! I eat small 6 meals and one main course a day. I small protein or veg, or fruit, then a nice meal dinner time! I eat 2.5 hr a day, using a timer on cell phone!
    My mood swings lessened!

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Toni Robison — March 2, 2021 @ 10:09 AM

  3. Reblogged this on Disablities & Mental Health Issues.

    Like

    Comment by Kenneth — March 2, 2021 @ 12:20 PM

  4. Hey Phylis, u forgot liver, which is a rich sores of Iron and a hole bunch of goodies. Here is a better explanation then i can give.

    “Liver is one of the most nutritionally dense foods on the planet. It contains significant amounts of folate, iron, vitamin B, vitamin A, and copper. Eating a single serving of liver can help you meet your daily recommended amount of all of these vitamins and minerals, reducing your risk of nutrient deficiency.Sep 25, 2020

    Is Liver Good for You? Pros and Cons, Nutrition Information …www.webmd.com ”

    I cook it with onions and rice or potatoes instead of rice. yummy

    Liked by 2 people

    Comment by Zolt — March 3, 2021 @ 8:24 AM

    • Whoops. You’re entirely right, Zolt. Thanks for the correction and addition.

      I can’t eat liver (mammal food allergies), but I agree, it is an important building block for iron and a host of other vitamins. A necessary nutrient for us all.

      Like

      Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — March 3, 2021 @ 9:28 AM

      • After my surgery, i was craving liver, probably all the blood i lost/replaced. I know a lot of people don’t like liver because of a negative label people give to it, similar to spinach, but it’s probably because they don’t know how to cook it.

        The best way i found is to cook it is with onions, cook together until the liver breaks apart, then add steamed rice with some chicken soup flavoring.

        Another way i like it is in Chicken soup.

        Liked by 1 person

        Comment by Zolt — March 3, 2021 @ 9:59 AM

    • Mmmmmmmmmm 😃😃😃😃😃😃😃

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by Kathy S.B — March 3, 2021 @ 9:55 PM

  5. I have found the methyl B12 which dissolves in my mouth works best for me ghost ride into my bloodstream., which the tablets did not do. I also use methylfolate capsules instead of folic acid tablets.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Sandra — September 4, 2021 @ 3:59 PM

  6. Sandra, thanks for the tip!

    Like

    Comment by Phylis Feiner Johnson — September 4, 2021 @ 5:58 PM


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    About the author

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    Phylis Feiner Johnson

    I've been a professional copywriter for over 35 years. I also had epilepsy for decades. My mission is advocacy; to increase education, awareness and funding for epilepsy research. Together, we can make a huge difference. If not changing the world, at least helping each other, with wisdom, compassion and sharing.

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