Certain foods can also help relieve stress in a variety of ways. Healthy comfort foods, like a warm bowl of oatmeal with nuts and berries, for example, boost levels of serotonin, a calming brain chemical.
Other foods can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones that take a toll on the body over time.
Healthy, well-balanced meals can also counter the impact of stress by boosting the immune system and lowering blood pressure.
Here’s a list of the top 10 stress-reducing foods:
Oatmeal helps get serotonin flowing, a calm-inducing hormone. Go with steel cut or old fashioned oats (instead of instant oatmeal) because they’re higher in fiber and take longer to digest. Therefore, their calming effect actually lasts longer.
Oranges make the list because they’re rich in vitamin C. Reliable studies show that it helps lower blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol, while strengthening the immune system.
Too little magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue, compounding the effects of stress. Spinach is packed with magnesium, which also regulates cortisol levels and promotes feelings of well-being. A cup of spinach contains 40% of your daily requirement, so add some in with your morning eggs, include in your sandwich, have a salad, or stir a handful in your soup.
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you're feeling tense. For a steady supply of omega-3's, try to eat at least 3 ounces (about the size of your palm) of salmon 2-3 times a week.
5. Black Tea
Drinking black tea may help you recover from stressful events more quickly. One study compared people who drank 4 cups of tea daily for 6 weeks with people who drank juice or coffeee. The tea-drinkers reported feeling calmer and had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol after stressful situations.
Pistachios are a good sources of healthy fats. Eating a small handful of pistachios, walnuts, or almonds every day may help lower your cholesterol, ease inflammation in your arteries, decrease your risk for diabetes, and protect against the effects of stress.
One of the best ways to reduce high blood pressure is to get enough potassium, and half an avocado has more potassium than a banana. Avocados are also rich in stress-relieving B vitamins, which help promote healthy nerves and brain cells. Guacamole is a good choice when stress has you craving a high-fat treat. Avocados are high in calories though, so mix a bunch of onions and tomatoes into your guacamole and be careful not to overeat.
Almonds are chock-full of helpful vitamins: vitamin E to boost the immune system, plus B vitamins, which may make you more resilient during bouts of stress and help boost your immune system. To get the benefits, enjoy a small handful daily.
Depression has been linked to low levels of folic acid, and asparagus is an excellent source. A single cup of asparagus provides 2/3 of your daily value, and it’s easy to fit into almost any meal. Try marinating them in olive oil and wrapping them in foil on the BBQ. They’re also great steamed or sautéed in an omelet.
Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and vitamin C, making them excellent stress-busters. When we’re stressed, our bodies need vitamin C and antioxidants to help repair and protect healthy cells. Combine blueberries with Greek yogurt for a well-balanced, stress-reducing snack.
I hope you’ll give these foods a try and that they help with any stress you might have!