6 Natural Products for Business Leaders Looking to Beat Back Stress
Executives work longer hours than ever before and need to maintain healthy lifestyles to combat stress. Although we tend to think of this as a time management issue, it often comes down to what we eat and what we put in our bodies. Food has a crucial impact on the brain, nervous system and endocrine system. One of my favorite parts about being a nutritionist is helping people find nutritional solutions that enable them to enjoy eating healthy foods more frequently—or every day—and reaping incredible benefits to the mind, body and spirit!
Here are six of the best, most desirable natural products that can help us balance our body chemistry so that we improve our moods, sleep better, reduce our stress and prevent or soothe anxiety. The following ingredients and foods assist us in achieving a sense of calm and stress relief, that we can rely on no matter how hectic life may get.
1. PureKana CBD
PureKana specializes in making high-quality CBD products and has managed to occupy one of the leading positions in the industry. (The research firm Brightfield listed them as a top 10 CBD company.) Their product line includes oils, gummies, capsules, topicals and sprays, which you can consume daily. Their line is also GMO-free and free of pesticides, herbicides and other neurotoxic chemicals.
PureKana CBD oil contains 0.3 percent THC and does not cause any psychoactive effects commonly associated with cannabis. PureKana has already helped many to cope with anxiety and to get rest instead of sleepless nights. By infusing berry ingredients and flavors into traditional health and wellness supplements like melatonin, PureKana creates unique experiences for its customers.
Studies show that cannabidiol, or CBD, which is a nonpsychoactive compound in cannabis, has clinical value in treating some neuropsychiatric disorders, including epilepsy and anxiety. Evidence points toward a calming effect from CBD in the central nervous system. It can act quickly, which is why people enjoy it so much; people often report a change in anxiety almost immediately after taking CBD. The Permanente Journal published a study reporting that 79 percent of participants experienced a reduction in anxiety. CBD helps with muscle relaxation, and therefore, many experience feelings of relaxation in both the mind and body.
Tackling the problem of anxiety with supplements can be a powerful solution. Liana’s Organics Anxiety-Free supplements is a blend of 10 high-quality organic ingredients formulated to support the brain and nervous system. These include well-known adaptogenic herbs that have been used for centuries to help reduce stress and anxiety, promote a happier mood and provide immune system support. The key ingredients are ashwagandha, spirulina, turmeric, flaxseed, echinacea, chlorella, ginkgo, bilberry, celery and schisandra.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that continues to gain popularity for providing immune system support, alleviating fatigue and improving general well-being. It has powerful anti-anxiety, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Spirulina is considered a superfood because it is high in vitamins, including A, C, E and a range of Bs, as well as minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. Spirulina also helps reduce anxiety because it contains omega-3 fatty acids and chlorophyll. Turmeric and its active compound curcumin, have been studied for their neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin modulates various neurotransmitter levels in the brain and has anxiolytic effects on biochemical and behavioral symptoms associated with anxiety.
Collagen is a naturally occurring protein in the human body, found in the bones, muscles, skin and tendons and is known for holding it all together or providing the structure. The body produces collagen naturally in abundance when young, but unfortunately, production starts to decline at about age 25 and decreases even more in women after menopause. Results from studies suggest that collagen enhances the hippocampal neurogenesis and exerted emotional behavior. Another study concluded that collagen peptides reduce anxiety related behavior. One reason could be that collagen can help to “heal and seal” the gut lining, which is known to improve nutrient absorption and digestion. The gut is known as the second brain; a happy healthy gut equals an even lighter and brighter mood. My top choice of good quality collagen is from Ancient Nutrition.
It’s common knowledge by now that our brains and nervous systems need omega-3 fatty acids for optimal mood, focus and function. One of the most common causes of anxiety is being deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids contain docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is a primary structural component of the human brain, cerebral cortex, skin and retina, and its deficiency is linked to several neurocognitive disorders and behaviors linked to anxiety and depression. Notably, low levels of DHA are associated with generalized anxiety, whereas supplementation with DHA has been shown to have anxiolytic effects.
Organic SunButter has one ingredient—roasted sunflower seeds—and is a great plant-based source of DHA.
Cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate, is remarkably high in magnesium—it has 40 times more than blueberries! Cacao releases those feel-good emotions in the body and brain. It also is an excellent source of good, healthy fats. Cacao improves our mood almost instantly. Even just the smell of it can activate feel-good brain chemicals and influence brain activity in a positive manner. An experiment was done of human subjects in which researchers found that the aroma of chocolate was associated with deep relaxation. There have been countless studies on cacao—and dark chocolate—proving that it helps to reduce anxiety, stress, depression and inflammation. Cacao is one of the richest sources of flavanol antioxidants on earth. Flavonoid-rich chocolate can enhance the endogenous antioxidant activities of the body, resulting in reduced oxidative damage.
Hu Kitchen Chocolate is made with real cacao powder and cacao butter. It is also free of refined sugar, dairy and soy lecithin—anxiogenic ingredients that make chocolate unhealthy.
Chickpeas increase serotonin in the brain. In a 2007 assessment of peer-reviewed studies on how to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs, chickpeas were among the few foods recommended because of its high tryptophan content. Tryptophan is an amino acid needed for the production and maintenance of the body’s proteins, muscles, enzymes and neurotransmitters. The body cannot produce it, so you must get it from your diet.
Explore Cuisine’s chickpea spaghetti and fusilli are a brainpower pasta. In addition to the pastas, Explore Cuisine also offers a grain-free “rice” AKA risoni. They are recognized as a superfood by the United Nations, as well as governments and food industry agencies around the world.
Liana Werner-Gray is a nutritionist and the author of the bestselling book Anxiety-Free with Food.