Work, kids, money – many of us are living with a whole host of daily stressors. If you (like me) have an interest in good food and holistic health, you might be wondering if there are stress-fighting foods to help to reduce your stress. The answer, of course, is yes!
Food for stress relief doesn’t mean you have to eat a completely balanced diet, but by adding these foods into your diet you can help to combat stress in your life.
Here are some food and drinks that can help to reduce your stress:
Spinach is not just a cartoon character’s favourite food! Spinach is one of the world’s most nutritious foods. It contains vitamins A, C and K, along with antioxidants and iron. It also has plenty of Omega 3s which help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Green leafy vegetables
Leafy greens contain a lot of magnesium. Magnesium is an important mineral that has the power to relax muscles and help you to feel more relaxed. The best leafy green vegetables are spinach, kale, collard greens, bok choi and Swiss chard. These can easily be added to meals or you can make snacks such as kale crisps.
Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel contain essential fatty acids to help you to get more serotonin. Serotonin makes you feel good and enables your brain to better cope with stressors.
Nuts make a great energy-boosting snack because they help to maintain proper blood sugar levels. If you find yourself having an energy dip at 3 pm and reaching for a chocolate bar or the biscuit tin then try swapping for a portion of nuts instead. The vitamin B complex in nuts helps to combat fatigue.
Dark chocolate (a top food for stress!)
There are many health benefits to eating chocolate. It stimulates the brain and increases serotonin levels, which result in a happier mood. Caffeine is also released by the chocolate, which helps us feel more alert. A small piece of dark chocolate each day can be almost as beneficial as eating fruits and vegetables. I love any excuse to crack out the chocolate!
Oats and other carbohydrates also help increase serotonin levels in the brain. In fact, your brain needs carbohydrates in order to function normally. This is why it’s essential to include them as part of your diet. An easy way to do this is to have porridge for breakfast, but if you don’t like porridge then you can add oats to smoothies or make baked oats for breakfast. Baked oats taste like cake and make an indulgent, but stress-reducing breakfast.
Lean meat and other protein snacks
Protein is fantastic for a number of reasons, including the healing properties that protein has. Lean meat such as turkey, fish and chicken as well as eggs are all good choices to help to reduce stress because they contain amino acids to help with healthy brain function.
Lean meats are preferred over fatty meats because the fat could interfere with the digestion of the amino acids.
Many experts believe a glass of red wine per day is beneficial to your health. Red wine is packed with antioxidants and has been proven to lower the risk of heart disease. In moderation, red wine can be a healthy part of your diet without any side effects. However, there is the downside that it can be very easy to overdo it when you drink alcohol.
You might be wondering why a stimulant is on the list of food for stress, but in moderation, coffee can help to stimulate your brain into working with more energy, which helps you to feel motivated and less stressed.
Coffee has been around for a long time. The first signs of coffee consumption date back to the fifteenth century, and since then it became a popular drink in many countries. It was a favourite drink among the Arabs and Turks, but it only became widely available in Europe in the seventeenth century when Europeans conquered parts of the Arab world.
So don’t feel guilty about your daily latte from your favourite coffee shop – it’s an important ritual that can be doing you more good than you realise!
Not just for children! Milk is known as a “wind-down” drink for many reasons. For starters, it can help reduce anxiety levels because of the presence of the proteins found in milk. Milk is also known to be high in calcium, which can help with muscle relaxation. You can easily increase your milk intake by using it in tea and coffee, making porridge with milk, drinking a glass of milk or using it in smoothies.