Thursday, 10 July 2014

How to Power Your Body for Meditation With Plant-Based Foods

By Erin Trauth 
While meditation can work any time with anyone in most any state of being, it doesn’t hurt to power your body with plant-based foods that will invoke a feeling of calm over us, especially for for those of us who are a little type-A and have trouble calming ourselves for meditative purposes from time to time (I am looking in the mirror on this one). Consider this list as a duel purpose one — you can think of eating these foods specifically to get your body in a more constant state of calm, or, you can think of this as a primer for those working their way into meditation and need a little boost to calm the body. These foods will help in both respects. Either way you eat it, you’ll be munching your way to a more zenned-out you!

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is not only good for your health, but the scent of it can calm you. Thus, if you add it in to your diet throughout the day or before meditation, you may bring your mind to a calmer state sooner. As reported via Eating Well, “When you’re stressed, the scent of coconut may blunt your natural ‘fight or flight’ response, slowing your heart rate. People who breathed in coconut fragrance in a small pilot study at Columbia University saw their blood pressure recover more quickly after a challenging task. The researchers speculate that inhaling a pleasant scent enhances alertness while soothing our response to stress.” Mix up a smoothie with coconut oil added in the morning, or add a tablespoon of it to your daily tea. Be sure to take  a big sniff of it before gulping it up too!


Chocolate

I know this is very sad news for all of us (NOT!), but chocolate can indeed be calming. Livestrong explains: “Eating chocolate can cause the brain to produce natural opiates — a chemical well-known for it’s anti-anxiety effects.” In addition, “chocolate is an excellent source of magnesium, a mineral that can help reduce muscle tension, which is a classic sign of anxiety.” If you’re aiming to stay plant-based, opt for dark chocolate, and do be sure to not eat too much, of course. A little nibble before meditation or on days you need some insta-Zen will do the trick just fine.

Asparagus
Asparagus is high in folate, and folate is essential for keeping your cool shades on. All Women’s Talk notes: “Depression and anxiety have been linked to a folic acid deficiency in the body, and asparagus is one of the top food sources of this nutrient.”


Avocados

Not only are avocados flippin’ delicious, but they also are jam-packed with great nutrients that will help keep your mind calm. Prevention explains: “These creamy fruits stress-proof your body. Rich in glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage, avocados also contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and more folate than any other fruit. A single serving (about one-quarter of an avocado) has plenty of B vitamins, too.” How’s that for an overachiever? Load up on avocados any time you feel the stress coming on or the need for meditation to set in!


Cashews

Cashews are not only delicious and versatile, but they also contain a hefty dose of zinc. “Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression,” Prevention explains. “Since our bodies have no way of storing zinc, it’s important to get some every day.” What better way to get this dose than with a handful of satisfying and flavorful cashews?

How do you prep your body for even more Zen? Do those of you who meditate (or make a specific attempt to eat for calm) opt for any of these plant-based snacks, or others? Let us know!