None of us can say that we don’t feel stressed at one time or another. Too much stress can affect our health. There are many things you can do for stress relief.
How we handle stress can make all the difference. Changing your diet is one of the best. Foods can do many things to help you combat stress.
Some foods can reduce the level of stress hormones in your body. Some food can boost level of feel-good chemical serotonin. Some foods can help you combat stress by regulating your blood pressure level. But do you know which foods they are?
7 Foods for Stress Relief
Avocados are incredibly nutritious. They provide more than 20 essential health-boosting nutrients.
According to researchers from Loma Linda university in California, avocados can help regulate your blood sugar level. This can keep your mood up.
High blood pressure is linked to higher stress. One of the best ways to regulate blood pressure is to get enough potassium. Avocados contain a lot of potassium. Half an avocado contains more potassium than a medium-sized banana. One avocado contains 28% of your recommended daily potassium intake.
But you have to be careful when you are eating avocados. They are high in calories and fat. Watch your portion size.
2. Fatty Fish
Fatty fishes, especially salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, and herring, are great at keeping stress in check. They can prevent surges in stress hormones. This is because fatty fishes contain a high level of omega 3 fatty acid.
There are two omega 3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA. High levels of EPA can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
The fatty acid can also help protect against heart diseases and premenstrual syndrome.
According to the American Heart Association guidelines, you should try to eat 3 ounces of fatty fish at least twice a week.
3. Black Tea
Drinking black tea can help you recover much quicker from a stressful situation.
In one study, 75 young healthy male tea drinkers were divided into two groups. They gave up their normal caffeinated beverage. For six weeks, one group drank four cups of black tea every day. The other group had an identical-tasting caffeinated beverage without tea’s other ingredients.
Both groups were then exposed to “everyday stresses” like the threat of unemployment or an accusation. Their stress hormone, blood pressure, heart rate, and self-reported level of stress were monitored.
Those who drank black tea had a lower level of stress hormone cortisol (a stress hormone) and recovered much quicker from a stressful situation.
4. Vitamin C Rich Fruits & Vegetables
Studies suggest that vitamin C can reduce the physical and psychological effect of stress.
In one study, German researchers gave 60 healthy young adults 3X1,000 mg of vitamin C every day for 14 days. Another 60 were given a placebo.
The 120 subjects were exposed to stressful situations like Trier Social Stress Test, TSST, consisting of public speaking and mental arithmetic.
Those who took vitamin C showed lower cortisol and blood level and reported feeling less stressed than the other group.
In another study of people with high blood pressure, researchers found that. when people took vitamin C before a stressful task, blood pressure and levels of cortisol returned to normal more quickly.
Foods high in vitamin C includes oranges, papaya, guava, kale, bell peppers, broccoli etc.
5. Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens are high in folate. Folate is a water-soluble B-vitamin that produces the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. They help reduce stress.
Folate deficiency is common in depressed people. Approximately one-third of depressed individuals has an outright deficiency.
In one study, researchers evaluated the relationships between folate intake and depressive symptoms. They found that people with a low intake of folate had a higher risk of developing depression.
Leafy greens also contain magnesium. Too little magnesium may trigger headaches and fatigue, compounding the effects of stress.
Foods high in vitamin C includes spinach, cabbage, chicory, watercress, mustard greens, collard greens etc. Soybeans and salmons are also high in magnesium.
6. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate can boost your mood. In one study, one group participants drank an antioxidant-rich dark chocolate drink (equal to about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate) once daily for 30 days. Another group drank placebo.
After 30 days, the participants who drank dark chocolate drink significantly increased self-rated calmness and contentedness relative to placebo.
In another study, researchers found that dark chocolate may help highly anxious people reduce their stress response.
Chocolates are loaded with calorie. So don’t consume too much every day. Stick to one or two squares a day.
Also look out for sugars. Contrary to what people think, sugar doesn’t reduce stress. The darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains. So buy the darker ones.
7. Nuts & Seeds
Nuts and seeds are a good source of healthy fat. They help lower your cholesterol, ease inflammation and protect you against the effects of stress.
Almonds contain the most benefit. It is a good source of many helpful vitamins including vitamin E and B vitamins. They make you more resilient to stress and depression.
To get the most benefit, eat a quarter of a cup every day. Be careful not to overdo it. They are rich in calories.
Other nuts and beans like pistachios, walnuts, soybeans, or white beans also contain a lot of benefits.
Besides changing your diet, one of the best ways to counter stress is to start exercising. Aerobic exercise reduces level of the body’s stress hormones. It also stimulates the production of endorphins. Endorphins elevate your mood. They are responsible for the for the feelings of relaxation and optimism. Aim for 20-30 minutes of exercise three or four times a week.
Sleep is also important. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will be stressed out the next day.
Have you made any lifestyle change to combat stress? What have worked for you? Let me know in the comment?