Foods To Reduce Stress
In today’s fast-paced and restless world, there’s really no such thing as stress-free living (if you’ve figured it out, let us know). We can, however, live a life with less stress. Although it’s often a hard concept to grasp, we as individuals have a lot more control than one might think. Consider the current practices you use to cope with and manage stress. Maybe it’s a relaxation technique such as journaling, exercise or meditation. While these are all phenomenal approaches with proven success, did you know that your diet also plays a huge role in your mood and overall mental health?
In challenging situations, we know that it’s often easy to turn towards food in attempt to deal with our emotions. A band-aid of sorts, if you will. For years we’ve even seen the media confirm this “instinctive” reaction (*cue heartbroken girl crying over a tub of ice cream). Unfortunately, as depicted by our cinema example, the foods we’re drawn to in these situations are usually not the healthiest of options, nor are they what our bodies need in order to actually feel better.
The foods we’re drawn to in challenging situations are usually not the healthiest of options, nor are they what our bodies need in order to actually feel better.
In the moment, it sure can feel like a 32oz. Slurpee and bag of potato chips might make all of that negative energy go away. While the temporary distraction may surely be there, this feeling is fleeting. Why? After over-indulging we often end up feeling guilty, which can in turn lead to mood swings and even more anxiety, on top of the obvious risks of weight gain and other negative health issues.
Rather than leaning on sugar or carb heavy foods as a crutch, mother nature has given us a number of foods to reduce stress. So, next time you’ve had a long haul at the office or it’s just simply been ‘one of those days’, dig into some of these powerful, healing superfoods:
Blueberries The high level of vitamin C and other nutrients that blueberries contain can actually help to reduce both short and long-term anxiety. The vitamin C and many other antioxidants help to fight cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone, while the fiber found in this vibrant fruit helps to maintain blood sugar levels.
Blueberries are a quick and easy solution to pesky stress that’s keeping you from a relaxed state of mind. Enjoy them by the handful or add them salads for a fruity boost in texture and taste.
Green Leafy Vegetables It’s no secret that leafy green vegetables are an essential part of a healthy diet. Dark leafy greens contain a wide variety of health-supportive and immune-boosting nutrients, including B-vitamins, iron and magnesium. They’re also rich in folate, which helps to increase the production of serotonin and dopamine- our body’s ‘happy’ chemicals.
Top choices to consume on a regular basis include: Spinach, kale, broccoli and Swiss chard. Aside from the obvious salad, think raw wraps in place of a traditional sandwich or a handful as an addition to sauces and dips.
Avocados contain an abundance of potassium, which helps to naturally lower blood pressure, as well as several beneficial B vitamins and monounsaturated fats that are needed for brain health.
Avocado This super-trendy superfruit is great for increasing mental strength and combatting anxiety. Avocados contain an abundance of potassium, which helps to naturally lower blood pressure, as well as several beneficial B vitamins and monounsaturated fats that are needed for brain health.
Start your day with a piece of delicious, always Instagram-worthy avocado toast or add a scoop to your smoothie for extra creaminess.
Seeds & Nuts Seeds and nuts are packed with magnesium, which also helps to keep cortisol (stress) levels low. Furthermore, seeds and nuts are rich in healthy fats and lots of additional vitamins and minerals, all of which work together to keep the immune system strong.
Top choices to consume on a regular basis include: almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and chia seeds. Extra perk: nuts and seeds are delightfully crunchy and can hence help diffuse tension even further.
Dark Chocolate Dark chocolate, in it’s most natural state, is one of the most potent endorphin-producing (feel-good chemicals) foods on earth. Dark Chocolate also offers several health benefits, including a plethora of heart loving antioxidants and flavonoids to improve memory. Look for dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%.
The best part about this superfood? Most tend to like it (we pretty much don’t trust you if you don’t). Chocolate falls into the traditional comfort food category and tastes really great, so this one is really a win-win if consumed in moderation of course.
All of these superfoods are beneficial to both physical and mental health. Our point? In stressful situations: superfoods > comfort foods.