18 Foods That May Reduce Stress
People these days are always in a rush and stressed. Being under pressure, overwhelming responsibilities, overthinking, uncontrollable situations, and many more lead to stress. Occasional stress is avoidable. But, chronic stress is a serious condition that can affect physical and emotional health.
Stress can be controlled through medication, exercise, and mindfulness. On top of that, an inexpensive way to reduce stress is having healthy food. Different types and amounts of brain food we consume impact our neural circuits. The neuro system is responsible for regulating mood, stress, and other mental and emotional states. These foods are easily available in the market which when consumed moderately helps you fight stress.
Our go-to comfort food is a stress reliever. Oatmeal is rich in vitamins and other nutrients that help calm our nervous system and reduce stress hormones. A warm bowl of oatmeal with your desired topping can be your way of introducing healthy high-fiber breakfast food in your diet.
Oatmeal has vitamin B6, also known as an anti-stress vitamin. Not just that, oatmeal is rich in melatonin which helps in instant relaxation, sleep, and induces calmness. A bowl of oatmeal increases the serotonin levels in the body. This keeps the sugar level steady and reduces the level of stress hormones in the brain.
Whenever it comes to listing foods with health benefits, broccoli cannot be missed. This green veggie will entice you with its rich nutrient content. Broccoli along with other cruciferous vegetables lower the risk of various health conditions such as cancer and depression.
Broccoli is rich in vitamin C which helps control blood pressure and cortisol levels in the body. Along with that, the vitamin B and the folic acid content in broccoli help relieve stress, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, broccoli contains sulforaphane which has neuroprotective properties that offer calmness.
3. Dark Chocolate
Good news to chocolate lovers. While satisfying your sweet tooth, you are reducing the levels of stress hormones in the body too. Chocolates give an instant boost to energy and improve mood.
The higher the cocoa content in the chocolate, the richer the antioxidants. Opt for dark chocolate with more than 70% cocoa and give a boost to endorphin and serotonin levels in the body. This helps in improving memory immunity as well as relieving stress. Dark chocolate is an anti-inflation agent that releases oxytocin - a relaxation hormone.
4. Chamomile Tea
Tea lovers Alert! Rather than any other tea, opt for green/chamomile tea. A perfect tea for any time of the day with stress-relieving properties. Chamomile is a medicinal herb and a natural stress reducer that has been used since ancient times.
According to the studies, having chamomile extracts such as tea helps reduce cortisol levels and anxiety symptoms. Chamomile tea has healing properties that can be used to relieve the issues of insomnia, and intestinal disorders too. An affordable and easily available aromatic, soothing tea is a must-have to reduce stress levels and promote restful sleep.
5. Sweet Potatoes
When stressed, we crave sweets and carbohydrates. Instead of unhealthy, refined sugary snacks, choose sweet potatoes. Rich in natural sugar and other nutrients, grabbing a sweet potato helps lower levels of stress hormones.
Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients such as beta-carotene, fiber, potassium, and vitamins. This help processes carbohydrate in sweet potato easily and relieves your stress too. Sweet potatoes also contain tons of antioxidants. It helps fight harmful free radicals and toxins formed by stress that affect the immunity system.
6. Sunflower Seeds
Another food that helps relieve stress is sunflower seeds. Munching on sunflower seeds keeps you full as well as lowers the levels of stress hormones. Its powerful antioxidants save you from chronic diseases and protect your mental health.
This superfood is rich in nutrients such as magnesium, selenium, zinc, vitamin B, etc. These nutrients calm nerves and relax muscles, reducing stress. Magnesium regulates the over-activation of nerve cells caused by calcium in the body. A rich source of vitamin E, sunflower seeds are stress relievers and help maintain mental health.
Dry fruits that we consume knowingly or unknowingly have various health benefits to offer. Cashews are one prime example of dry fruits that are rich in nutrients and plant-based compounds. It helps cope with stress.
A good source of magnesium, cashews have a vital role to play in stabilizing energy and regulating the nervous system. We can also find abundant of vitamin B6 in cashews that help in the production of serotonin. Serotonin levels in the body affect our mood and eventually the stress levels. Cashews also contain zinc, a mineral essential to boost the immune system at times of stress.
If green leafy vegetables aren't your favorite yet, you need to add them to your favorite list pretty soon. This is because it helps clean the toxins from the brain. With this, it helps in age-related mental decline.
Another nutrient that's abundantly available in spinach is magnesium. Magnesium helps regulate cortisol levels and improves sleep quality too. Along with that, spinach and other green leafy vegetables contain folate. Folate produces dopamine - a pleasure-inducing chemical in the brain. This helps maintain calmness i.e. reduced stress levels.
9. Fatty Fish
When you feel like breaking a pencil, or excess nail-biting, get a bite of fatty fish instead. This helps improve mood by reducing stress as fatty fish are rich in various nutrients.
Incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, having fatty fish has been studied to reduce stress levels and improve mood. Fatty fishes that you can have to reduce stress are salmon, sardines, mackerel, and herring. This feeds your hungry stomach as well as provides you with nutrients that boost your mood. It eventually makes you calm. Apart from stress management, fatty acids help protect the heart, and against depression.
Another amazing food that helps cope with stress is garlic. Rich in antioxidants, it helps neutralize the effects of free radicals in the body. With this, it helps fight laziness - a reason for stress.
Garlic is high in sulfur. It helps increase the levels of glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant that helps fight stress. The antioxidants in garlic efficiently soothe the stress levels of the mind. It also helps reduce the stress in the brain by lowering the stress markers. Studies suggest having garlic helps in reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression too.
One of the delicious legumes is chickpeas. As tasty as it is to eat, it has various health benefits. One of them is fighting stress. Chickpeas are packed with stress-fighting vitamins and minerals.
As per research, chickpeas are high in plant proteins. This helps boost brain health. Vitamins and minerals found in chickpeas are magnesium, potassium, vitamin B, copper, zinc, and the list goes on. Along with these stress-fighting vitamins and minerals, chickpeas are rich in L-tryptophan. It helps in the production of serotonin which significantly boosts the mood, relieving stress.
A sweet, tasty treat to tastebuds, blueberries offer various health benefits. A fruit with natural sugar content, helps boost your mood and satisfy the sugar craving when stressed.
Blueberries, similar to other types of berries, are high in flavonoid antioxidants which have anti-inflammatory properties. Along with that, blueberries come with neuroprotective effects. Blueberries are superfoods that help boost mood naturally. According to research, the antioxidants in blueberries help reduce inflammation induced by stress. It also helps prevent the cellular damage that can be caused by stress. Blueberries protect from getting into depression and boost mood.
How do you like to have almonds? Soaked, roasted, or straight out of hand? No matter the way you choose to have it, it will help boost your mood. The vitamins in almonds have various health benefits including reducing stress. Vitamin E helps boost immunity while vitamin B makes you resilient when hit with stress and depression.
Almonds also contain magnesium responsible for the production of serotonin. Serotonin regulates the mood and relieves stress effectively. Consumption of almonds every day strengthens the immune system making you strong enough to fight off disease.
Elevate your mood with orange! The best-known citrus fruit to boost your mood and strengthen the immune system too. Nutrient deficiency leads to various health hazards. Hence, being mindful of the foods we consume is essential.
Cortisol is the hormone that creates stress. Citrus fruits such as oranges help in lowering cortisol levels. A rich source of vitamin C, regular consumption of oranges helps in lowering stress hormones and boosts overall mood. Great for both physical and mental health, having orange is advisable in any form available. Be mindful of the sugar content when getting a packaged juice though.
Eggs have some impressive nutrient profiles. A whole egg is a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. These nutrients are essential to fight against stress.
Moreover, eggs are rich in choline. Choline in large amounts is found in very few foods. And, choline has an important role to play in maintaining a healthy brain and preventing stress hormones. Eggs also have tryptophan, an amino acid responsible for producing serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps in regulating sleep, behavior, mood, and learning.
If you love seafood, you will love this news. Shellfish such as oysters, clams, and mussels are loaded with nutrients essential for the functioning of the body. They are also known to have mood-boosting properties.
Shellfish are high in amino acids such as taurine. Taurine is required to produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter essential to regulate stress and its responses. Apart from that, shellfish are loaded with vitamin B12, selenium, manganese, copper, zinc, etc. However, shellfish is a common food allergen so it is best to employ caution before consumption.
Kimchi: the name has us mouth-watering, doesn't it? It's a fermented food with various benefits. In particular, kimchi benefits the gut health. And, a healthy gut is directly linked with mood.
Kimchi contains probiotics and is a rich source of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. According to research, fermented foods such as kimchi help reduce stress and anxiety. On top of it being tasty, it helps cope with stress. Consumption of kimchi has a positive effect on mental health too. As you crave some sour, tasty fermented napa cabbage and daikon when stressed, enjoy kimchi.
18. Organ Meats
Organ meats are an excellent source of vitamin B. Organ meats include the heart, liver, and kidneys of chicken and cow. These organ meats contain vitamins such as vitamin B12, B6, and folate. These vitamins help in controlling stress.
The vitamin B is essential for producing neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These neurotransmitters help regulate mood. When mood is regulated, stress is reduced. If you do not eat meat, having vitamin B supplements can help balance your mood. If you are already a meat lover, have organ meats to relieve stress.
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