IN YOUR 20s

Pro­tect against stress

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - FEATURES -

More than one in three Aus­tralians say they are ” very” stressed — and it’s younger peo­ple in par­tic­u­lar who con­sis­tently re­port lower lev­els of well­be­ing, the Aus­tralian Psy­cho­log­i­cal So­ci­ety says. Un­for­tu­nately, re­search in­di­cates that high stress lev­els cor­re­late with telom­eres that are one decade shorter than they should be. But you can fight back!

EAT MORE … Fish

It con­tains marine-sourced omega-3 fatty acids, which help to pro­tect the heart against the detri­men­tal ef­fects of men­tal stress. To make it work: Eat two or three serves of oily fish such as salmon, sar­dines and mack­erel each week — be­cause the oilier the fi sh you eat, the more omega-3s you­ll be con­sum­ing.

Whole grains

They’re full of fi­bre, which pre­lim­i­nary re­search sug­gests can limit the ef­fect stress has on gut bac­te­ria and be­hav­iour. To make it work: Choose brown rice rather than white rice, and opt for whole­grain or whole­meal breads, crack­ers, pas­tas and flour.

Dark cho­co­late

In one study, peo­ple who de­scribed them­selves as ”stressed out” ate dark cho­co­late ev­ery day for two weeks. Their stress hor­mone lev­els fell, and their stress-re­lated bio­chem­i­cal im­bal­ances im­proved. To make it work: You need only 40g dark choc a day, but choose one that’s at least 70 per cent co­coa — it’s where the healthy com­pounds live.

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