Today we’re under an extremely high volume of stress. Our bodies can only withstand so much of this daily onslaught of stress. The worst thing for our health is to eat processed food that is high in sodium, fat and sugar when feeling stressed. Eating unhealthy only weakens our bodies immune systems. A weakened immune systems also leads to inflammation throughout the body. The better alternative in combating life’s stress is eating healthy.
Are you feeling more stressed out lately? Before you reach for the sugary, fat filled, processed snack and comfort foods , consider healthy alternatives. Here are top 10 healthy foods that helps reduce stress :
- Green leafy greens
- Fermented Foods
- Chamomile Tea
Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit . Avocados can be enjoyed raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body. Avocados have high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, consider swapping junk food for blueberries . Blueberries are superfoods that can help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially anthocyanin. This antioxidants means that blueberries have been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind. These health benefits all help you deal better with stress.
Green Leafy Greens
Leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants. These nutrients and antioxidants help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate. Folate helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
Walnuts are a healthy snacking option which will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels. There’s no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. Walnuts are a great source of plant based Omega-3 oil and more antioxidants than most other foods. Walnuts may help reduce inflammation and great on salads!
Pistachios – another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can promote gut health, lower vascular constriction when you are stressed , among many other health benefits. The repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!
Eating fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut can help to keep your gut healthy. By keeping your gut healthy will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry , resulting in positive mood and behavior.
Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vitamins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety. Grass-fed beef is also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.
Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of serotonin, helping you feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative breakfast.
Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you’re stressed out. Chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonoids and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress.
Stress management through diet also includes what you drink. What you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking high sugar and caffeine drinks, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother. It has also been used in clinical trials with chamomile tea , in which it was determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
In concluding , its a good idea to eat mindfully by considered how foods can affect your body and mental health. Healthy food, along with regular exercise can help you achieve optimal health. Remember that you are what you eat! Use portion control with high fat foods like avocado, nuts and chocolate. Whole foods are always best and explore superfoods for optimal health!