Best Foods for Stress Relief

spinach

It’s a common habit when you feel stressed you tend to reach out for junk food. Food high in sugars or calories only trick us to thinking we are better but actually, they only give you a moment of reprieve. When that period is over, you begin battling with mood swings, irritability, and other unpleasant emotions. Choosing healthy food can help calm your mind, support your body, help relieve tension, stabilize blood sugar and relieve stress. There are varieties of food which have been scientifically proven to help reduce stress in our lives. Between shopping for grocery, having a hard time at work, and helping kids with their assignments, you can be left worn out leading to stress. You need a diet that truly relieves all of your stress. Below are the top anti-stress foods you need to add to your menu.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Green leafy vegetables are rich in magnesium and B-Vitamins such as folic acid. Folic acid produces mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine (a pressure-inducing brain chemical that helps you remain calm). Additionally, magnesium helps with cortisol and blood pressure regulation. According to a study, people who eat folate-rich foods like fruits and spinach tend to feel calmer, happier and more energetic.

Quinoa

Quinoa contains B Vitamins which are crucial for normal brain functioning, mood stabilizing and stress relieving. The presence of thiamine in quinoa is vital for improving anxiety levels thus keeping you calm. Also, pyridoxine in Vitamin B produces serotonin, a neurotransmitter that controls anxiety. Other sources of B-Vitamins include barley, brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, and oat.

Turkey Breast

turkey breast plate dish

Protein containing foods like turkey are good sources of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps in the production of serotonin. Serotonin regulates hunger and brings about a feeling of happiness and well-being. Furthermore, tryptophan has a calming effect on its own. Research shows that argumentative people who took tryptophan for two weeks were perceived as more agreeable by their study partners. Tryptophan decreases quarrelsome behaviors and the person becomes more pleasant. Other sources of tryptophan include nuts, eggs, fish, lentils, beans, and tofu.

Blueberries

Blueberries have antioxidants and phytonutrients elements which help your body to respond to stress and fight stress-related radicals. The antioxidants are also important in the production of dopamine which helps in memory functioning and mood control. According to Cynthia Sass, a Health’s contributing nutrition editor, research has also shown that blueberry eaters experience a boost in natural killer cells, a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in immunity, which is critical for countering stress.

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are great sources of zinc and minerals which help in easing stress and anxiety. In a study done on people who had anxiety, the results showed that they had zinc deficiencies. After taking zinc supplements for eight weeks, they were reported to have a significant reduction in anxiety levels. Zinc is also associated with glutamate (an anxiety and depression regulator). Other foods rich in zinc are oysters, chicken, nuts, beef, and adzuki beans.

Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains anandamide and phenylethylamine. Anandamide is a feel-good neurotransmitter while phenylethylamine helps in keeping you calm and euphoric. Chocolate also contains an antioxidant which makes the walls of your blood vessels to relax, lowering your blood pressure thus increasing blood circulation. A case study of 40 people who consumed 40g of milk or dark chocolate per day for two weeks showed a decrease in stress levels.

Avocado

We’ve always associated avocados with high-fat levels. However, they also have nutrients like B-vitamins, potassium, and fiber. Avocado provides essential health-boosting nutrients and reduces your eating stress by making you feel more satisfied. A study involving several participants who added half avocado to their diet, their desire to eat was reduced by 40% for three hours following midday meal. This makes you less inclined to eat unhealthy snacks when you experience stress.

Pistachios

Pistachios have nutrients which provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to our bodies. Two servings of pistachios a day are proven to lower vascular constriction during stress, that means your heart is relieved the workload since your arteries are more dilated. It’s recommended you choose organic pistachios and avoid those that are dyed, bleached, or show signs of decay. Also, pistachios help in immune health, which has a connection to stress levels.

A Recap

Anti-stress diets play a huge role in keeping one calm during stressful times. You can buy these foods at stores near you. You also need to take lots of fruits and fluids like water, green tea, kefir, chamomile tea or yogurt. They are great in calming your nervous system and improving your digestion.

All images via Pixabay

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