10 Foods That Reduce Stress
When it comes to fighting stress, there are many different ways food can either play an essential role or be a burden. But one thing is for sure, a diet of the right foods consisting of the correct number of nutrients can be very useful in helping you reduce your stress and anxiety.
Below is a list of some of the top 10 foods that may eliminate some of that stress and help put you in a better mood.
Avocados are one of my favorite fruits because they are so delicious and you can add them to many things like salads, burgers, and sandwiches, or just whip them into a nice guacamole. But you also get the added benefit of that wonderful Omega 3 fatty acid.
So when it comes to avocados it is no surprise that getting the right amount of fatty acid from these delicious fruits is not only beneficial to our overall health but it is also beneficial in helping reduce stress and anxiety. The fatty acid in avocados can also improve your mood and boost concentration.
Tea is a very versatile drink that you can enjoy either hot or cold. Not to mention many different teas such as green tea and black tea contains many different antioxidants and provide many health benefits.
Some of the benefits of drinking tea not only include the ability to reduce stress but some teas such as chamomile tea can help you get a good night's rest. Drinking a cup of peppermint tea is a great way to help relax your muscles and reduce irritability.
If you happen to use dry chamomile, just add 3-4 tablespoons in 8 ounces of boiling water.
Dark chocolate is known for its powerful source of antioxidants but this bittersweet treat is also beneficial to your health in many ways from reducing the risk of heart disease to even protecting your skin from the sun. However, the number one reason I like to eat a few pieces before I go to bed is to get the added benefit of stress reduction.
A study conducted showed that eating just one dark chocolate candy bar(1.4 ounces) every day for two weeks straight was able to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people who were highly stressed. Other health benefits may include:
- Improved mood
- Reduced insulin sensitivity
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improved blood flow
- Improved brain function
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When you are stressed, the amount of serotonin in your brain can be off. Serotonin is often referred to as our "happy chemical" because it contributes to our happiness.
Eating whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread can combat stress by increasing our serotonin levels. Just be sure to eat complex carbs to increase your levels because refined carbs like bagels, cookies, and white bread will have an opposite effect on the brain.
While this isn't exactly a food, this fatty acid is found primarily in oily fish such as salmon, plant-based foods, and omega-3-rich vegetables, nuts, and seeds. One study from Ohio University showed that consuming foods with omega-3 may be effective in helping treat anxiety.
Nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are a good source of vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 is known for its stress-reducing benefits because it helps boost our immune system and helps us endure stress.
However, nuts are high in fat so it is recommended that you stick to no more than a 1/4 cup serving when snacking.
Warm milk has been a remedy to help children get to sleep for many years so it shouldn't be surprising that it is on this list. However, you may be surprised as to why it is on the list.
Milk has a protein in it called lactium that is said to not only have a calming effect on the body, it also has the ability to lower blood pressure and reduce your cortisol levels. So drinking a warm glass of milk before bed if you have trouble sleeping like your parents made you do is actually a very useful tip.
It is recommended, however, that you look for raw milk and if you can't get that look for “pasture-raised” or “grass-fed” (organic can still come from grain-fed cows) because people who drink factory farmed milk tend to have GI issues.
I can attest to this.
I have to drink lactose free organic milk or I get stomach pains.
If you are afraid of the taste, I can understand, I was too. I tried Lactaid and didn't like it but then I tried Darigold's Lactose-free Pasturized milk and it tastes just like regular milk to me.
However, some people can't have dairy at all and some can tolerate these types of products. So always be sure to discuss these issues with your doctor.
Fruits High in Vitamin C
Consuming fruits high in Vitamin C like oranges, grapefruits, and other citrus fruits can help reduce stress by boosting your immune system and lowering your blood pressure. This will help lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
More fruits that can reduce stress here.
There has been more and more evidence lately that stress can cause changes to our brains and guts. So it isn't surprising that consuming a diet rich in foods that provide benefits to our digestive health and mental health is very important.
One of the major foods that play a big role in our gut health is fiber. Eating lots of fiber-rich foods like broccoli, avocado, lentil, chia seed, almonds, leafy green vegetables, bananas, whole grains, and many more, are a great way to keep your digestive tract flowing and the cells in your colon healthy.
When your gut is healthier than your mood is better because your gut affects your brain.
You may have heard and experienced before how eating turkey has the ability to make you sleepy. Well, that is thanks to the amino acid tryphtan found in the turkey.
So next time you are feeling down or having trouble sleeping, grab you a turkey sandwich. No need to wait until Thanksgiving to get the calming benefits of good old Mr. Turkey.
Although stress isn't something you can avoid, a diet rich in the proper foods can be an effective way to help you combat your stress. Start by basing your meals off of high fiber complex carbs.
Eating a diet full of citrus fruits and leafy vegetables will help increase your vitamin C and B6 vitamins allowing you to improve your immune system and lower your cortisol levels. This in return will help you better deal with stressful situations.
Eat more fish and include a portion of oily fish to get your needed requirement of Omega-3. If need you can add an omega 3 supplement. Always first ask a doctor before adding any supplements to your diet if you have any health conditions or are taking any medications.
Remember that it is just as important to your health to be active and exercise as it is to eat healthily.
I would love to hear from you. What is your favorite stress-busting food to eat when you are stressed? Share your comments below!