If you’re under high stress, it’s critical to support your body with a nourishing diet.
Nutrition needs increase when the body is under stress.
Every time you eat, choose healthy foods that support your health and energy.
Furthermore, specific foods help soothe anxiety and counteract stressreactions. Here are five foods to try the next time you’re feeling stressed out.
Oatmeal is an amazing food to fight stress. It’s high in complex carbohydrates that encourage the natural production of serotonin, the brain’s feel good chemical. Balanced serotonin levels relax tense nerves and elevate mood.
In addition, oatmeal is high in calcium for nervous system health and a good source of fiber to keep blood sugar balanced.
Choose coarse oats instead of instant brands to get the extra fiber. High fiber oats digest slowly, allowing you to experience the stress relief benefits throughout the day.
If oatmeal is hard for you to digest, try other grains like quinoa or spelt, which offer similar anti-stress benefits.
Most of us have heard about the sleep inducing effects of turkey or have experienced it for ourselves. Turkey is high in the amino acid L-tryptophan, which produces feelings of calm relaxation.
Research finds tryptophan even makes people less argumentative and more agreeable, so definitely keep tryptophan foods on the menu for stress.
Organic turkey is the best choice to avoid GMO chemicals or antibiotics laced in the meat. Lentils, beans, eggs, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and seaweed are other high tryptophan foods to try.
In the West, we eat land vegetables for our main source of greens, but vegetables from the sea are even more nutritious.
Like turkey, seaweed is a good source of L-tryptophan for stress reduction.
Seaweed is also extremely rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium that fight stress and relax tight muscles.
Seaweed is easy to include in your diet; just add 1-2 Tbsp of dried seaweed to soups, healthy casseroles, brown rice, and veggies.
*If you’re concerned about sodium in your diet,try nori that has been rinsed with fresh water and use no other salt in your recipes.
Organic seaweeds are the best choice to avoid contaminants and metals present in some brands. If you don’t like the taste of seaweeds, you can take them in capsules for anti-stress benefits, too.
Omega 3 fatty acids from fish like wild salmon are proven stress relievers. Rates of anxiety and depression are lower in countries where fish consumption is high.
Omega 3’s keep stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in check. 2011 research shows omega 3 fatty acids reduce anxiety and decrease inflammation (involved in chronic stress and depression).
I find new moms with mild depression often experience a reduction in symptoms just by consuming more omega 3 rich foods or by taking omega 3 supplements.
While wild salmon and other cold water fish are some of the best sources, omega 3’s are also available in foods like spinach, seaweed, flax or chia seeds, and walnuts.
Blueberries are one of the highest antioxidant foods available to combat stress.
Early research shows ellagic acid in blueberries may reduce stress and anxiety as well as anti-anxiety medication.
Furthermore, berries are healthy brain foods. Anthocyanidins in berries encourage the natural production of dopamine, important to memory, coordination, and mood.
Blueberries also contain abundant vitamin C to support the adrenals. (Poor adrenal activity is another common stress trigger.) Add blueberries to your daily oatmeal, yogurt, or in healthy smoothies for extra stress protection.
Sometimes, the best answer for stress is cleaning up your diet and eating more stress relieving foods.
When you’re under stress, it’s easy to reach for the wrong foods. 40% of Americans confess that they overeat or eat the wrong foods because of stress! Do your best to choose healthy, anti-stress foods.
For long-term stress protection, cut way back on sugar, caffeine, and chemical laden, processed foods. These foods can perpetuate the stress cycle, disrupt sleep, and worsen anxiety.