Today we would like to share with you some foods that reduce stress.
Our modern lives are often packed full of deadlines and demands – all of them seemingly detrimental! For many of us, stress is just part of everyday life. However, stress isn’t always bad. Stress can help us perform well under pressure and motivate us to do our best. Although if you’re constantly running around in emergency mode, your mind and body will pay the price. Protect yourself by recognising the signs and symptoms of stress and take steps to reduce its harmful effects. An effective way to reduce stress is by eating correctly, along with sleeping enough and exercising regularly.
After spending almost two months working day and night to set up this website/blog, I was in need of a well deserved break. So last week Bayden and I visited our dear friends Irini and Milos on the amazing coast of South Australia. We stayed in a beach house overlooking the ocean with an awesome bunch of people – completely away from the hustle and bussle of the city. We ate well, ran on the beach every morning, and slept well each night. I cannot tell you how much better I felt in just a couple of days. However, since being back I noticed I’ve fallen back into my old bad habits. This is one of the reasons I wanted to share these foods that reduce stress, as a small reminder to myself (and you) of how small changes in our diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference to how we feel.
While there’s no such thing as a chill pill (not a healthy one anyway), some foods contain nutrients that do help reduce stress. It is a well known fact that B vitamins, folate, and omega-3 fatty acids can help alleviate depression, while magnesium relaxes muscles and stimulates production of GABA (a neurotransmitter that eases anxiety/nervousness and helps you fall asleep). Antioxidants help fight the damage that cortisol (the stress hormone) does to brain cells and memory.
This article will provide you with a list of foods that reduce stress. Include them as part of your daily diet and watch stress melt away.
What Foods To Eat To Reduce Stress?
Oranges & Citrus Family Fruits
Vitamin C helps reduce stress and return blood pressure and cortisol levels to normal. Vitamin C boosts your immune system by repairing you body and neutralising the release of free radicals.
Blueberries are high in fiber and rich in vitamin C which can help fight the blood sugar fluctuations, effectively helping you to reduce stress.
Sweet potatoes are packed full of beta-carotene and other vitamins. The fibre in sweet potatoes helps the body to process the carbohydrates in a slow and steady manner. Instead of going for sweets and carbs eat sweet potatoes to reduce sugar cravings.
Nuts and Seeds
Walnuts and pistachios help lower blood pressure while almonds are packed with B and E vitamins to help boost your immune system. Nuts and seeds make a great snack and are ideal foods that reduce stress.
Rich in magnesium, apricots are as a natural muscle relaxant and excellent example of food that reduces stress.
Spinach is a rich source of magnesium which can prevent migraine headaches and a feeling of fatigue. Only one cup of spinach can provide you with 40% of your daily requirement of magnesium. Try our delicious green smoothie recipes using spinach here.
Broccoli, asparagus, spinach and kale are packed with vitamins that help us replenish in times of stress.
Avocados & Bananas
The monounsaturated fats in avocados and potassium in both avocados and bananas help lower blood pressure. One of the best ways to lower blood pressure is to consume enough potassium.
Chia Seeds & Salmon
Omega-3 is found abundantly in Salmon and also in Chia Seeds. It keeps the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking. Diets high in omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease, which is often result of high stress levels.
Turkey and Chicken
An amino acid called L-tryptophan contained in unprocessed (and preferably free range) chicken and turkey triggers the release of serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical, which has a calming effect. This is one of the main reasons you feel relaxed and sleepy after your Christmas lunch or Thanksgiving dinner.
Whole grains including the brown rice, oats, and wheat contain vitamin B and fibre, with serotonin-releasing carbohydrates that can stabilise blood sugar levels.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants and has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help in balancing blood sugar and aid in detoxification. We recently wrote an article on The Miracle Cure-All Elixir containing garlic, which you may also find useful.
And finally our favourite – CHOCOLATE! (preferably dark). Consume in moderation and it’s even better if you can find an organic version that is sugar-free.
MORE STRESS REDUCING TIPS
- Sleep – regular sleep between 11pm and 6am with a minimum of 6-7 hours per day will help reduce stress on the liver and other organs, keeping you focussed and energised.
- Exercise Daily – 20 minutes daily of exercise can dramatically improve your health and reduce stress. Mix it up with running, biking, swimming and yoga.
- Drink plenty of water – water helps a lot with detox and will keep you hydrated which also reduces stress on the body.
- Eat small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar stable – (when blood sugar is low your mental, physical, and emotional energy decreases, and your stress increases).
- Listening to music can also help you deal with stress, anxiety, fatigue and so much more.
- Visit nature – going for a stroll along the beach or a walk in a nearby park, reserve or forest will make you feel recharged and more present.
The above mentioned foods are not just for when you feel stressed out – they should be included as part of a regular healthy and balanced diet. These foods will not only reduce the harmful effects of the stress but will also prolong your life and improve your overall health. Consume everything in moderation and consult your doctor if you have specific dietary restrictions or are unsure about certain foods being right for you.
How vulnerable are you to stress? Take a free on-line STRESS TEST
Are you being consistent when it comes to your diet, sleep and exercise? Which areas are in need of improvement?
List three things that you can do TODAY that can help you reduce stress?
SHARING IS CARING…
In comments section of this post please share your experiences with us and the strategies you have successfully utilised to reduce stress. We like to hear your success stories and any tips you may be able to share for the benefit of others.