About dietary stress-reducers...
There are a few foods I find extremely effective at maintaining calm. The first would have to be salmon. I'm not overly versed on the chemistry of it but I do know, when eaten with some regularity (more than three times a week) my mood is invariably pleasant. The fatty acids DHA and EPA in the fish reduce stress hormones including cortisol, improve cholesterol ratio and reduce the stickiness of your blood, leading to a drop in heart attack risk. Anecdotally, I feel my joints and muscles are more flexible, accompanied by a noticeable improvement at the piano. All that and a great source of protein. So, eat your fish!
Tomatoes (especially tomato paste) are saturated with lycopene, a potent antioxidant. Early studies show a decrease in muscle fatigue after intense exercise, along with an increase in post-workout recovery rate. Lycopene also appears to increase the skin's resistance to UV light. (People in the study ate 70 grams of tomato paste a day for three months. It's pretty good on toast.)
Citrus fruits, need I say more?
Ginger. Nothing wakes you up in the a.m. like a throat-searing shot of fresh ginger juice. Definitely not for the feint of heart, the juice (which is delicious in lemonade, BTW) has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
I could go on forever...skim milk, brown rice, olive oil, red bell peppers, green lima beans, steel cut oats, canola oil, dark chocolate, avocado, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, cherries, the odd glass of red wine, celery, yogurt, green tea, flax oil, beans of any kind, tuna, garlic, what else....sushi! (gag)
IMO, diet is THE most important variable in the wellness equation. If I neglect mine, life's stresses become far less tolerable.
Anyone else notice diet's effect on stress or piano playing in general?