Inside Scoop: Try these 8 delicious and nourishing foods for reducing stress naturally.
This post was submitted by Nicole Wright health care professional and blogger at PricePro Pharmacy.
Stress is one of the most common ways that our mental health and wellbeing are compromised today. Initially, stress may seem harmless, but day after day chronic stress may lead to severe health issues.
Chronic stress increases your risk for serious health conditions like depression, anxiety, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and obesity. Moreover, stress can impact every system of your body including the reproductive system, digestive system, and immune system. This why dealing with stress at the onset is extremely important.
Dealing with stress is not easy, and typically overall lifestyle changes are required. But, the good news is that you can manage your stress naturally with a few modifications to your lifestyle including getting enough sleep, breathwork exercises, a digital detox, DIY spa day, and of course incorporating foods for reducing stress and nourishing your body and mind naturally.
So, here we have enlisted foods that are considered as stress-busters. Thus, they should be part of your daily diet plan, especially if you are going through periods of stress.
Foods for Reducing Stress
You might know that fatty fishes like salmon, sardines, trout, herring, and mackerel are good for heart health, but do you know they are excellent for your mental health too? Yes, the same constituent Omega-3 that makes them healthy for the heart, is responsible for making it healthy for the mind as well.
Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to have a strong association with mental health. EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), contained by foods that are rich in omega-3, regulate neurotransmitters and improve brain function, reducing stress and anxiety.
Moreover, fatty fish like salmon and sardines are real stars when it comes to busting stress because they contain vitamin D, which not only helps to manage weight but also helps to fight against the depression.
If you are stressed and craving for some dark chocolate, then don’t stop yourself from the fear of gaining weight. Not all chocolate is created equal, and dark chocolate is the one to choose as it may help to reduce stress.
Dark chocolate contains cocoa, which can boost the mood. The tryptophan which is present in chocolate is used by the body to convert intro mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like serotonin. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants, which can reduce the stress hormones in the body.
Moreover, dark chocolate is a source of magnesium that can help to lower the symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, do remember that dark chocolate still contains added sugar that can quickly add to your calories, so eat it mindfully.
Nuts & Seeds
There are numerous health benefits of nuts. Snacking on nuts not only keeps you full and prevents unhealthy cravings but also helps to reduce stress. Wondering how? Well, they contain vitamin B that regulates neurotransmitters and lowers stress levels.
So, along with lowering your blood pressure, nuts help you to fight against stress. However, they can have added salt, sugar, preservatives and fillers so make sure you opt for raw or low heat roasted nuts with no additives, and stick to handful or a couple of tablespoons a day.
If you are a tea-lover, then here is some good news for you. Green tea is known to have a calming effect. It contains an amino acid called theanine, which is said to have an influence on mood disorders.
Theanine has anti-anxiety effects that can boost the production of stress-busting chemicals dopamine and serotonin. Adding green tea to your everyday diet will keep you fresh and calm.
The benefits of green tea are not limited to this, do you know they can also help you to shed some weight? Besides, it is a better alternative to other kinds of drinks like soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, and even coffee.
Dark leafy green vegetables
If you hate salads, then it is time to change your taste and add leafy greens to your diet. When in stress, there can be no better food for reducing stress than leafy green vegetables.
Green veggies like spinach and kale are regarded as stress-busting powerhouses for they contain folate that plays a significant role in the production of serotonin and dopamine. These are feel-good brain chemicals that can relieve your stress.
Other foods that are rich in folate include broccoli, citrus fruits, asparagus, beans, and Brussels sprouts. Moreover, dark leafy green vegetables also contain magnesium that regulates cortisol and blood pressure levels.
Avocados are packed with all those nutrients that you need to reduce your stress, from vitamin B6, vitamin C, healthy monounsaturated fats, potassium, and fiber.
Studies have shown that deficiency in some B vitamins may lead to anxiety, and avocados are a great source of those B vitamins. That is the main reason why avocados are great stress busters. So, include this healthy fruit in your diet and gain both physical and mental health benefits.
Apart from magnesium, potassium is also capable of reducing stress, and pumpkin seeds are a great source of potassium. Potassium-rich foods like pumpkin seeds may reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress.
Moreover, potassium helps manage blood pressure and regulate electrolyte balance. Besides, pumpkin seeds are also rich in the mineral zinc, which is vital for brain and nerve development. So, make pumpkin seeds part of your diet to minimize your stress.
Oatmeal and Blueberries
Yes, whole grain carbs are absolutely on the foods for reducing stress list!
Oatmeal is a complex carb that can soothe your mood. It helps your brain to generate serotonin, a de-stressing neurotransmitter. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and they help to produce dopamine, that stress-fighting chemical.
You can eat blueberries stirred into oatmeal for maximum benefit.
So, fatty fish, dark chocolate, nuts, green tea, dark leafy green vegetables, avocados, pumpkin seeds, oatmeal and blueberries are some of the best foods for reducing stress and that you should include in your diet plan regularly.
Now you know what you should eat while you are stressed, but do you know that you would also benefit from avoiding certain foods during periods of stress.
If you are anxious and stress, then make sure to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugar as they may further add to your stress levels.
It’s also important to consult with a medical doctor if you experience any serious complications or side effects as a result of stress.
What natural ways have you found that help you manage your stress levels? Share them below.
My name is Nicole Wright. I am a health care professional and blogger at PricePro Pharmacy. I write my blogs to bring you the latest findings in the health care industry, best health care practices, balanced diet, most effective workouts, motivational advice and more. When not writing, you can find me watching Netflix, cooking for my family or hanging out with friends.