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Nowadays, our lifestyle is such that we are bound to get stressed out and this can destruct our health in a way that it can disrupt the proper functioning of the digestive, immune and nervous system.
There are many ways to deal with stress and reduce its levels. Food can play a vital role in lowering stress levels, and when you are stressed your body craves for certain nutrients like vitamin B, vitamin C, magnesium and selenium .
The amount of nutrients that you consume can have a major impact in the body's neural circuits that control motivation, emotion and mood .
So, choose whole, natural foods that can help in relieving stress and calm you down. Read on to know the foods that can reduce stress.
Foods To Help Relieve Stress Naturally
1. Dark chocolate
According to a study, participants who consumed 40 g of dark chocolate daily had a significant reduction in the stress hormone cortisol. It is because dark chocolate is an excellent source of antioxidants, such as polyphenols and flavanols that help in boosting mood .
This buttery fruit has the ability to lower stress levels due to their richness in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin A and other essential nutrients. Omega 3 fatty acids uplift your mood and reduce stress, depression and anxiety .
3. Leafy greens
Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, to name a few are rich in magnesium. This important mineral helps regulate cortisol and studies have shown that people with low magnesium levels are more likely to be stressed out .
4. Fatty fishes
Regular consumption of fatty fishes like salmon, herring, mackerel, trout, sardines and tuna that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 is known to lower cortisol levels and beat stress . Eat fatty fishes at least twice a week.
Nuts are packed full of nutrients like vitamin B, magnesium, zinc and healthy fats, and all of these nutrients can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Studies have shown that walnuts and pistachios can prepare your body to deal better with stress , .
Seeds are another stress-busting food that can help deal with stress. They are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, and other essential vitamins and minerals that can help lower your stress levels drastically. Include sunflower seeds, chia seeds and flaxseeds into your diet.
7. Herbal teas
Drinking herbal tea has a soothing and calming effect on the mind. It lowers stress levels and stabilizes your mood. A study showed that green tea has the potent ability to reduce stress due to its low caffeine content and high L-theanine, a protein that helps relax the brain .
Oatmeal is another comforting food that regulates the stress hormone serotonin. It is rich in B vitamins and magnesium that helps in lowering stress and elevating your mood. So, start your breakfast with a bowl of oatmeal .
9. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that is known to alleviate stress according to a study. Vitamin C can lower physical stress, emotional stress and anxiety, which often props up when you are stressed out .
The presence of B vitamins, magnesium and manganese in bananas are known to improve mood and bring down stress and fatigue. Whenever you are stressed out, grab a banana to ensure that your stress levels are low.
Eggs are rich in protein, choline, omega 3 fatty acids, B vitamins and other nutrients that can significantly improve your mood by busting stress and anxiety.
12. Dairy products
Dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and cheese are a good source of probiotics, which support gut health by protecting it against harmful bacteria, improving digestion and helping in better absorption of nutrients. These probiotics have been linked to elevated mood by reducing stress, anxiety and depression .
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which make them an important food for reducing stress. The flavonoid content in blueberries has been shown to improve mood and lower stress that follows with anxiety and depression .
14. Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are rich in vitamin C, a vital vitamin which helps lower the stress hormone, cortisol. Include red bell peppers into your diet daily to get rid of stress and improve your mood.
15. Whole grains
Whole grains are an excellent source of carbohydrates, which aid the body to make insulin, which in turn allows tryptophan, an amino acid to enter the brain, thereby making you feel good and calm.
Turkey contains tryptophan which gets converted into dopamine, a feel-good hormone in the body. Dopamine is responsible for boosting mood and lowering stress and anxiety levels .
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How stress affects the body?
Stress increases the stress hormone cortisol, elevates blood pressure, causes rapid heartbeats and raises blood sugar.
2. Why does stress cause people to overeat?
The adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol, which increases appetite and revs up your metabolism. This signals the brain that the body needs food and so you start to overeat.
3. How to relieve stress without overeating?
There are many ways to manage stress such as meditating, exercising, good sleep and travelling.