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Healthy Living

Avoid stress—grab a sweet potato!

During times of stress, people often reach for traditional "comfort" foods such as pizza, ice cream and chocolate. Unfortunately, these high-fat foods are usually the worst possible choices because they can lead to lethargy and plain old crabbiness. Not only that, but stress can drive up blood pressure and serum cholesterol levels, increasing the risk of a heart attack. The best solution? Low-fat, high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. These foods provide energy and boost immune system function, just what is needed during times of stress. So what are some good choices?

High-fiber, carbohydrate-rich foods: Scientists believe carbohydrates cause the brain to produce more serotonin, a hormone that relaxes us, and fiber helps in producing a full feeling. Some examples of healthy comfort food include baked sweet potatoes, minestrone soup or sautéed vegetables over rice.

Fruits and vegetables: Chronic stress can weaken immune systems, which is why immune-boosting antioxidants are so important. Try baked acorn squash or raw carrots for beta-carotene, and oranges and grapefruits for vitamin C.

Source: Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

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