STRESS…we’ve all had to deal with it at one time or another. Some, more than others. Stress is natural, but too much stress can be bad for both our physical and our emotional health. Chronic stress can lead to heart disease, depression and even weight gain.
Surprisingly, what we eat can play a part in our stress levels. Here are 6 foods that can help get that stress back in check!!
SEEDS. Flaxseed, sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds are excellent sources of magnesium, which has been shown to alleviate stress, fatigue and irritability. Nuts and seeds are also a great source for Omega 3 which also helps to reduce stress. Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain tryptophan which elevates serotonin production and can help with stress!
TURKEY. As with seeds, turkey contains tryptophan. In 2006 the Journal of Psychiatry Neuroscience published a study in which men and women who were deemed as argumentative based upon personality tests were given either tryptophan supplements or a placebo. Those taking the tryptophan were found to be more agreeable by their partners after a two week trial period.
BEETS. Beets are high in folate (vitamin B9). Studies have shown a link between a folate deficiency and mental fatigue, forgetfulness, confusion and insomnia. One cup of beets will supply you with a whopping one third of your daily needed intake of folate!
BLUEBERRIES. Blueberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidants which can help regulate cortisol levels which helps to calm anxiety. Blueberries also help to alleviate stress by boosting serotonin levels and regulating our brain function.
OATMEAL. Some of us always have that carb craving. Instead of completely denying the craving, give in. Although, don’t reach for the cookies and cake, try oatmeal instead. Carbohydrates are used to help the brain make serotonin, but sweet carbs like donuts can increase our blood sugar levels. So, a complex carb like oatmeal won’t contribute to a spike in blood glucose, but WILL aid in the production of serotonin!
DARK CHOCOLATE. A moderate amount of dark chocolate may have the ability to reduce stress levels by reducing our stress hormones, including cortisol. The antioxidants in the cocoa can stimulate the walls of our blood vessels to relax, which in turn will lower blood pressure. AND, dark chocolate contains tryptophan, phenylethylamine and theobromine, which create feelings of happiness and a natural high!
While changing our diet to lower stress levels can be helpful, we can’t rely solely on our diet. The key to lowering our stress needs to be a whole body approach. Exercise and getting enough sleep cannot be overlooked! Combine these things with a healthy diet including the foods we mentioned and enjoy less stressful days ahead!