Many people are surprised to find how closely nutrition and stress are linked together. For one thing, if a person is overweight or lacks essential nutrients, it will take a toll on their physical health and appearance. This in turn can create stress.
For people with TMD, food itself is sometimes the source of stress, because eating the wrong foods can cause discomfort. The conundrum is that when stress strikes it increases cortisol production, which causes food cravings. When this happens there are certain foods to reach for that can actually help you reduce anxiety and relieve stress, even if you have TMD.
Avocados are packed with stress reducers. They block the absorption of fats that cause oxidative damage, and beyond that also contain relaxing folate, potassium, lutein and vitamin E.
Soft, creamy and delicious bananas are a treat that we often begin enjoying from a very young age. Bananas are also a good source of potassium, which has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Vitamin C has been proven to help fight off stress and inhibit cortisol production during stressful events. Berries of all varieties are full of vitamin C and other healthy antioxidants. People with TMD should reach for blueberries to prevent any possible problems with seeds.
This one should come as no surprise. Eating dark chocolate can lower blood pressure and has a calming effect. It also contains a lot of mood boosting antioxidants.
The reason why so many complex carbohydrates are considered comfort foods is because they cause the brain to produce the mood-boosting chemical serotonin. Healthy options for TMJ patients include oatmeal and whole grain pasta.
Caffeine-laced coffee is a stimulate that can increase stress levels in some people. Many herbal teas create the exact opposite effect. Chamomile tea has been used for centuries to soothe the senses and aid in sleep. More recently a study from the University of Pennsylvania found that over an 8-week period, chamomile supplements helped reduce participants’ anxiety.
Have you ever wondered why warm milk supposedly helps you sleep better? It turns out milk has numerous calming nutrients. The potassium in milk helps relieve muscle tension and spasms while lactium lowers blood pressure. Drink chocolate milk for a double dose of stress relief.
Get a boost of stress-fighting vitamin C and help protect your immune system at the same time with oranges.
Many people may balk at this eccentric appetizer, but these soft shellfish are packed with zinc, which is important in regulating many bodily functions.
Salmon and Tuna
Fish is a great, TMJ-friendly source of protein. But the omega-3 fats in these fish can also control adrenaline and cortisol when you’re stressed.
A sweet potato will provide feel-good complex carbs and satisfy your urge for comforting sweetness.
This leafy green is an amazing source of antioxidants, but it also contains high levels of magnesium. The mineral magnesium can help control cortisol, fight fatigue and keep headaches in check.