Shayna Schmidt | Aug. 22, 2018

Stress sucks

Stressful situations, whether a deadline at work or getting stuck on the subway and not being able to tell anyone you’re running late, set off a series of reactions in the body. You can read more about stress and the body here, but basically: the body releases cortisol when we’re stressed to help lower inflammation. But, if the initial levels of cortisol secreted are not sufficient for the inflammation at the molecular level, then more cortisol is secreted. This excess cortisol can affect our mood, immune system, blood pressure, and even appetite.

However, “The more of an anti-inflammatory diet we follow, the less need for excess cortisol to reduce chronic inflammation,” says Dr. Barry Sears, leading authority on the dietary control of hormonal response, as well as author and president of the non-profit, Inflammation Research Foundation. This is where our NUTRITION plays an important role! Plus, since stress may increase our desire to eat when we’re not hungry (i.e. emotional eating comfort foods), it’s important to be aware of our stress and how it relates to potential weight gain. Many of us struggle with this: NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health conducted a national survey, where more than ⅓ of the participants said their nutrition changes during stressful times. Whoa.

Gotta watch that nutrition!

So, I think it's pretty obvious to say that we need to be aware of our nutrition when we’re stressed. A study on stress & eating behaviors conducted by Yale University School of Medicine hypothesized that hyperpalatable foods (i.e. Doritos, Oreos, Ben & Jerry’s) may serve as comfort foods that act as a form of self-medication in times of stress. When the stress system is in an activated state, this “may alter brain reward/motivation pathways involved in wanting and seeking [these yummy] foods and induce metabolic changes that promote weight and body fat mass,” the authors of this analysis wrote.

So what needs to happen here? We've found that having a few go-to recipes that you know you can easily whip up even when it’s been a super stressful day may be the key to preventing stress from affecting your health & fitness goals. Today we happily present you with one that's perfect for the end of summer!

Grilled salmon burgers with avocado salsa

Here’s a great recipe from “Laughing Spatula” blogger Kathi for delicious grilled salmon burgers with avocado salsa! The best nutrient to reduce inflammation is omega-3 fatty acids. And here we give you a double-punch by giving you both salmon AND avocado. Thinking this sounds too hard to make? Think again. You’ll have dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.

Ingredients

Burgers:

  • 1 pound salmon fillet
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Avocado Salsa:

  • 1 large ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 poblano pepper, seeded & chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

Burgers:

  • Skin and chop salmon fillet into a large bowl.

  • Add panko, poblano, egg, green onion, lemon/lime juice, and salt/pepper. Mix well.

  • Heat a grill pan or an outdoor grill to medium-high heat.

  • Cook for about 4 minutes on each side until cooked through. Et voila!

Avocado Salsa:

  • Combine all ingredients in medium bowl.

  • Top burgers with salsa. Serve with or without bun.

  • Enjoy!