If you are feeling stressed out, instead of reaching for handy junk food, try one of our top 15 foods for healthy stress relief.
But we’re not talking about stuffing yourself with your typical SAD foods SAD stands for Standard American Diet. Foods like Mac and cheese or fries will only leave you feeling guilty and perhaps even more anxious. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all, cure-all food to ease stress, but you can manage to get relief from stress by exercising regularly and including more of these 15 healthy foods in your diet.
It’s easy to forget the importance of everything we put into our bodies. While you can’t always eat a completely balanced diet, you can reduce your stress levels simply by choosing the right stress-fighting foods.
Since everyone is different, some stress-relieving foods might work for you while others may not. Your best bet will be to try them all and then incorporate the ones that work for you into your regular diet.
Fat cells grow faster in response to junk foods when your body is chronically stressed!
[box] Foods that Reduce Stress
When you’re feeling tense, there are many ways to manage and, reduce your stress levels. Certain foods provide comfort and can increase levels of hormones in the body that naturally fight stress.
Other types of foods and beverages can reduce stress by lowering the levels of hormones that trigger it.[/box]
Here are some Healthy Foods that can help Alleviate your stress:
- Green Leafy Vegetables. Leafy greens contain a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that has the power to relax muscles. The magnesium in Swiss chard and other leafy veggies helps balance the body’s stress hormone, cortisol.
- Fish Oil. Fish oil contains essential fatty acids that help with serotonin uptake in the brain. Serotonin makes you feel good mentally and enables your brain to better cope with stress. You can get your fish oil from certain kinds of fish, such as salmon, or from supplements. The heart-healthy omega-3 fats in fish such as salmon, sardines and tuna help manage adrenaline levels to help you keep calm, cool and collected.
- There is a reason that milk is sometimes referred to as a “wind down” food. The proteins in milk can help reduce anxiety while the calcium is another mineral that can help with muscle relaxation.
- Dark Chocolate – A small piece of dark chocolate each day can actually provide you with many health benefits. Chocolate has a stimulating effect. The caffeine also helps to increase serotonin. It’s okay to indulge in chocolate in small amounts!
- Red Wine. Many experts believe that a glass of red wine each day provides health benefits. The only drawback is that it’s easy to overdo it when drinking alcoholic beverages. Wine is packed with beneficial antioxidants and can temporarily lower blood pressure and help you relax.
- Oatmeal and other carbohydrates also help increase serotonin levels in the brain. In fact, your brain needs carbohydrates in order to function normally. This is why it’s essential to include good carbohydrates like oatmeal in your regular diet.
- Lean Meats. Lean meats can help you combat stress by providing a good source of protein. Turkey, eggs, chicken, and fish are all good choices because they contain necessary amino acids for healthy brain function. Remember not to eat fatty meats because the fat can interfere with the proper digestion of the amino acids.
- Yes, caffeine is a stimulant and there is also a risk of developing an unhealthy habit. However, moderation is the key. Coffee can help stimulate the brain into working with more energy and efficiency, helping you feel more motivated and less stressed.
- Nuts help you maintain your proper blood sugar. They also contain plenty of the vitamin B complex, which combats fatigue.
Walnuts – contain alpha-linolenic acid, an essential omega-3 fatty acid, and other polyphenols that have been shown to help prevent memory loss.
Cashews – Just one ounce of this tasty nut packs up to 11% of your daily recommended intake of zinc, an essential mineral that has been used to help reduce anxiety.
- Spinach is one of the world’s super foods. It contains many vitamins, antioxidants and omega 3’s. This means it would be hard to eat spinach and not feel good!
Avocado and Banana – What do these foods have in common? They’re loaded with potassium, which a vital mineral for help in keeping your blood pressure regulated.
Carrots – Simply munching down on crunchy foods helps offer some stress relief. Nutrient-rich carrots, celery, and other crunchy, fresh veggies offer a satisfying crunchiness that won’t bring you down with too many calories.
- Yogurt – This may sound strange, but the bacteria in your gut might be contributing to your stress. Research has shown that the gut sends signals to the brain, and stress can inflame gastrointestinal symptoms. It’s a queasy proposition.
- Blueberries – When you’re feeling stressed, there’s a battle being fought inside your body. The antioxidants and phytonutrients found in berries put up a fight in your defense, helping to improve your body’s response to stress, and fight off those stress-related free-radicals.Another fruit to consider is Oranges – because of their wealth of vitamin C. In one study, people with high blood pressure and high levels of cortisol – a stress hormone, returned to normal more quickly when people took a high dosage of vitamin C before performing a stressful task.
- Seeds – Flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are all great sources of magnesium which has been shown to help alleviate depression, fatigue, and irritability,
How Does Eating Healthy Reduce Stress Video
Vitamins & Supplements
Of course, it’s always best to get your nutrients from the natural source. If this isn’t possible, or if you can’t stomach a certain food, it’s best to look for vitamin supplements so you can still derive some benefits from it.
Vitamin supplements help your body get the nutrients it might be missing. Once you start consuming these necessary nutrients, you’ll be on your way to feeling healthier and stress-free.
Eating foods that are high in unhealthy fats and sugars- especially high fructose sugars, lead to many concerning health effects, including that larger waistline of increased abdominal fat, more oxidation damage to your body cells, and more insulin resistance.
Your diet plays a very important role in your stress management program, along with exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and yoga or meditation are also important release valves, that can also help you manage your stress.
In short: Eating a healthy diet can help counter the impact of daily stress by strengthening your immune system and helping to keep your blood pressure in check.