In today's world, most people have fallen victim to everyday stress. Sometimes there are other bigger factors that pile on, but for the most part, everyday stress can be found in most peoples' lives. From high blood pressure, to unhealthy levels of cholesterol, to fatigue, and low levels of patience, there are numerous ways stress is revealed in our bodies. We need help! The way our body responds to stress for immediate short term problems is totally suitable for dealing with day to day situations. But when the stress piles on and your body has no reprieve, it really takes a toll on our health. Stress hormones can cause our blood pressure to rise and our heart is working too hard for too long. When we are under stress, our liver produces extra glucose to give us a boost of energy. Any blood sugar not needed will get reabsorbed into our body. So if we are under chronic stress, it is likely that we cannot keep up with this extra glucose. That puts us at risk for type 2 diabetes. Our digestive system is also affected. Some possible symptoms are acid reflux, heartburn, nausea, or vomiting. Muscle and body aches may develop due to the tension that continues to build. We are also more susceptible to viruses, infections, and diseases as our immune system is taxed. This does not sound like a fun way to live.
It's time to go into repair and restore mode. Meditation can be a huge benefit to our overall health. Try to set aside at least 20 minutes a day to enjoy this moment of peace. Getting adequate sleep is a huge healer as well. Go to bed earlier and disconnect from anything that can be a stimulant at least an hour prior. Get your body moving by exercising on a regular basis. This is such an impactful stress reliever due to the endorphins produced. These endorphins are natural pain killers to our body and these endorphins help us sleep. Those things reduce stress as well as give us energy and boost our self esteem. Of course, last but not least, eat a heart healthy diet. There are many foods that offer our bodies healing and nourishment. When we are dealing with stress and its effects, focusing on our heart is important.
A variety of foods provide amazing benefits to our heart. You will find a few of those in this stress busting smoothie bowl.
Walnuts - proven to lower LDL cholesterol, rich in a plant based essential omega-3's which has anti-inflammatory effects
Berries - full of heart healthy phytonutrients and soluble fiber
Cherries- along with berries, cherries offer a high dose of anthocyanins that lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation. They are also high in fiber and a fabulous choice for lowering cholesterol.
Flaxseeds - omega-3 fatty acids and fiber all protect heart health
Spinach - full of Vitamin C and beta-carotene that prevent oxidized cholesterol from building up in arteries. Folate lowers homocysteine levels. Potassium and magnesium are blood pressure reducers.
Avocado - full of good fats, monounsaturated fat, which lowers cholesterol, offers anti-inflammatory benefits
Pomegranates - contains numerous antioxidants, including heart-promoting polyphenols and anthocyanins which may help stave off hardening of the arteries
So as you can see, we have quite a list of some powerful foods that can really help provide us healing. By combining them all into a smoothie bowl, we have a delicious breakfast that gets our day started. That is so important because when we start our day off eating healthy, clean foods, we are more likely to continue that trend throughout the day. So if you have felt the strenuous effects everyday life, or are going through a stressful time to due other curve balls life can bring us, check out this recipe. Your body will respond with gratitude.
1/2 cup coconut milk
!/4 of an avocado
1/2 cup spinach
2 Tbs walnuts
1 Tbs flaxseed
1 cup frozen berries (blueberry or raspberry)
1/2 cup frozen cherries
1/2 frozen banana
2 Tbs pomegranate seeds
*I puréed some blueberries to swirl on top of the smoothie bowl
1. Combine all ingredients in your high speed blender and blend until thick and smooth. Add ice to thicken or coconut milk to reduce thickness.
2. Pour into a large bowl and garnish with desired toppings. Enjoy your big bowl of heart healthy nutrition!