Stress is the body’s reaction to an increase in pressure or demands that we are unable to cope with (often at a subliminal level!). Stress can mean different things to different people, but it often stems from problems related to relationships, family, your job or most common – money! Stress can also stem from a build-up of small life events or a major life event that came up unexpectedly. Acute stress is helpful and necessary – but chronic longer term stress is very unhealthy.
Aside from feeling an overall sense of anxiety, many of the organs in the body are affected by stress. When we are stressed, our cortisol levels rise and this can compromise the functioning of the immune system. The hormones Adrenaline and Noradrenaline are also released, which raise the blood pressure. A rise in these hormones can also reduce stomach activity (which will greatly impede digestion, and may also cause constipation).
Bananas are a miracle fruit for people dealing with depression, anxiety and stress. They are one of the few fruits that contain the amino acid tryptophan and vitamin B6, both of which help to produce the natural chemical serotonin in the brain (the “happy chemical”). More serotonin production means better moods, better sleep, and overall feelings of happiness.
The high potassium levels in bananas (and dates) is also great for helping counteract stress. Potassium helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain, and regulates the body’s water balance. When we get stressed, our metabolic rate rises, and our potassium levels are reduced – so this smoothie helps to prevent that!
Lastly, ripe bananas are also very high in soluble fiber, which in some cases can help to push waste through the bowels, and help with these stress-induced constipation issues.
Anti-Stress Banana Smoothie
5 ripe, spotty bananas
3 medjool dates, pitted
1 inch fresh ginger root
1 cup coconut water or coconut milk (you may need to add more, depending on preference)
Optional: pinch of cinnamon, vanilla, and fresh turmeric (about 1 inch fresh or 2 tsp powdered)
METHOD: Run everything through a blender and serve immediately. Enjoy!