Sometimes stress is unavoidable. Sometimes the most stressful things in your life are things you are committed to, things you can’t do without. In this case, the best way to cope with stress is to fortify your body to handle stress as healthily as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is by making changes to what you eat every day. Eating nutritious foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and sunflower seeds can give your body what it needs to keep going in any circumstance.
Sunflower kernels contain several nutrients that are essential in keeping the body healthy. They also help prevent stress from worsening. These nutrients include:
Vitamin B1, or thiamine, plays an important role in cognitive function. It is also involved in red blood cell formation and the nervous system. Aside from this, vitamin B1 is also recognized as an effective anti-stress vitamin. This is because it helps manage anxiety levels better. In fact, a study in Canada found that 250 mg/day of thiamine can help reduce the severity of anxiety disorders. In other cases, the vitamin has been effectively used against symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and chronic fatigue.
Folate or vitamin B9 is essential in converting carbohydrates into energy. The body also needs folate to make DNA. Folate is a particularly necessary vitamin during periods of rapid growth. These include during infancy, adolescence, and pregnancy. Low folate levels in the body have also been linked with both depression and dementia.
Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant that is known to support immune function and help prevent inflammation in the body. A study in China found that daily supplementation with vitamin E can help protect the body’s cells against oxidative stress. This is important since free radical formation tends to increase when the body is under stress.
Magnesium is a critical nutrient for bone formation and calcium absorption. It has also been shown to lower the risk for diabetes and restrict the release of stress hormones in the body. Consequently, a deficiency in magnesium has also been recognized as a biomarker of chronic stress.
Selenium is a trace mineral that is known to aid in fertility and cognitive function. A study conducted in Wales, United Kingdom, associated selenium supplementation with better moods. Furthermore, selenium also helped decrease the participants’ anxiety levels.
Phytosterols are nutrients that can lower blood cholesterol levels. A study in California found that therapy using phytosterols can effectively reduce biomarkers for oxidative stress.
Without these anti-stress nutrients, your body is left to fend off stress on its own. And if it fails, the consequences to your health could be dire.
Typically, the body copes with stress by utilizing its NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system. The NEM stress response system is comprised of six circuits. These include the hormone, metabolism, neuroaffect, cardionomic, inflammation, and detoxification circuits.
When stress is detected, all the circuits in the NEM stress response get to work. For instance, in the hormone circuit, the adrenal glands produce several stress hormones to prepare you for a fight or flight response. Among these hormones is cortisol, which is also known as the primary stress hormone in the body.
Once the stress episode has passed, the adrenals reduce the production of cortisol and other stress hormones. However, in the case of chronic stress, the adrenals are forced to keep producing cortisol until they can no longer keep up with demand. When this happens, significant hormonal imbalance occurs. This, in turn, leads to adrenal fatigue.
Sunflower kernels have been shown to help relieve symptoms of adrenal fatigue. For starters, these seeds contain good amounts of both carbohydrates and protein. These can help ensure that you have enough energy to get through the day, helping prevent sudden blood sugar crashes. And because you don’t feel hungry all the time, it can help you control your body’s cravings for salty and sugary processed foods much more effectively.
The magnesium and phytosterols in sunflower seeds have also been found to reduce inflammation. This is particularly helpful since low-grade inflammation can increase the permeability of the gut lining. With increased permeability, harmful toxins can pass into the bloodstream and cause a host of problems including allergies, autoimmunity, and even neurological issues.
Aside from this, seeds such as sunflower and sesame have also been shown to help balance your body’s hormones. This helps lessen the severity of adrenal fatigue in your body.
However, before you try sunflower seeds, there are a few things to consider.
First, be aware that while eating sunflower seeds is good for your body, proper caution must be exercised when it comes to sunflower oil. This is because sunflower seed oil contains particularly high levels of omega-6 fatty acids. Hence, consuming large quantities might cause an imbalance in the ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids in your body. Ultimately, the imbalance could lead to greater stress from within and ultimately worsen your adrenal fatigue.
Second, if you have advanced adrenal fatigue or other serious medical condition, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor before adding any new foods to your diet. In some cases, eating seeds might trigger a sudden allergic reaction. In fact, poppy, sunflower, and sesame seeds have been known to trigger anaphylaxis. This seriously affects the body’s breathing and circulation. So if you’ve never eaten sunflower seeds before, haven’t had them in a long time, or suspect you have an allergy, proceed with caution.
Now that you know more about how a sunflower seed-rich diet can help fight off stress and avoid adrenal fatigue, it’s time to find out how to include sunflower kernels into your meals. There are many delicious ways to eat these seeds. Try some of the sunflower seed recipes below.
Any of these sunflower seed recipes could make a great addition to your daily diet. As you can see, it is possible to manage stress and adrenal fatigue through food. You just have to take the time to research what to eat and what to avoid. By eating foods that keep your body healthy and nourished, you are giving your body the resources it needs to bounce back from the effects of stress.
© Copyright 2020 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Sunflower seeds or kernels contain various essential nutrients that the body needs to combat stress and adrenal fatigue. Among these nutrients are magnesium, folate, vitamin B1, phytosterols, and more. Sunflower kernels also contain carbohydrates and protein, helping keep you full throughout the day and preventing blood sugar crashes.