The 8 Best Foods to Reduce Stress Aug 11, 2017 by Sarah (Day Styles)
Healthy foods can stabilize your blood sugar and relieve tension, improve your mood, and reduce your stress. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or pouring another cup of coffee, try these nutritious recommendations instead!
Fish that are caught in the wild (salmon, sardines, anchovies) are high in omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, two fatty acids that play a significant role in your emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that when a person eats enough omega-3 fatty acids, they have 20% reduction in anxiety compared to those who didn’t consume enough either in their diet or as supplements.
Avocados provide our bodies with almost 20 different essential nutrients including potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins and folate. Avocados are great at stabilizing blood sugar levels which helps to keep moods steady and level so we don’t experience extreme highs and lows. This is perfect for people battling stress or anxiety, aiding us in having a clear mind and decreasing the chance of making irrational decisions.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Dark leafy greens (like spinach) are very rich in folate, which is a compound that helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine. There was a study done in the United States that has shown that the more folate a person eats, the lower their risk of clinical depression.
One study done at Harvard showed that eating two servings of pistachios per day lowered vascular restriction in humans during stress, which means that arteries open more so that blood can run through your body, giving the heart a much-needed break. The actual action of eating pistachios can be a calming routine for some people as well, as it’s very repetitive and some people may find it rather meditative.
The compound that gives blueberries (and other berries) their dark hue is called anthocyanins. They are antioxidants and contribute to the production of dopamine, which is a chemical critical to coordination, memory function and our overall mood. They also help our bodies boost our natural defences, like white blood cells that strengthen our immunity and are useful for countering stress!
Turkey is extremely well known for providing us with more than enough tryptophan, which is an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin, which is another amino acid that lifts our spirts and puts us in a good mood. Other sources of tryptophan include pumpkin seeds, nuts, and organic free-range eggs.
Have you ever been in the worst mood and, magically, when you take that first bite of chocolate, your bad mood lifts and relief sweeps over you? This isn’t a coincidence. The chemical reaction we get while eating chocolate is called anandamide, which is a neurotransmitter that helps temporarily block feelings of pain and depression. A study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that people who ate 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily felt calmer than those that did not. That’s a pretty good reason to eat chocolate!
One of the biggest secrets to mental balance is to keep your gut in optimal condition. Unhealthy gut flora can have a terrible impact on your mental health, leading to different side effects such as anxiety and depression. Women who regularly ate yogurt containing probiotics and good bacteria had improved brain function compared to those who didn’t eat it. Probiotics and healthy foods like these are key to boosting your mood, helping your brain, and combating stress!