Feeling a little frazzled and burnt out these days? You’re not alone. Stress levels have been soaring in the last few years and we’re starting to see the major effects it can have on our bodies. When it comes to stress, food can either be your biggest ally or enemy. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to what you’re consuming to help alleviate that anxiety. Next time you can feel your blood pressure rising, try filling your plate with one or more of these foods that have been scientifically shown to fight stress levels.
1. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate can help fight stress?! That’s right, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants which has been shown to help reduce stress by lowering hormone levels in the body. It’s also super important that you’re choosing a high-quality dark chocolate, particularly one which focuses on ensuring the bar is packed with pure components and no hidden additives or chemicals. Just be sure to enjoy this one in moderation!
2. Whole Grains
Research has shown that carbs can temporarily increase levels of serotonin, which is a hormone that boosts mood and reduces stress. Once there are increased levels of serotonin, people under stress appear to have better concentration. It’s important though that you’re opting for healthy, unrefined carbs like sweet potato or whole grains – sorry to break it to you but that cookie won’t make your stress disappear!
Eating your veggies may have more health benefits than we initially thought! Broccoli for instance is filled with nutrients, including magnesium, Vitamin C, and folate – all of which have been shown to combat depressive symptoms. Not only does it appear that this cruciferous veggie can help lower stress levels, it also may lower your risk of certain cancers and heart disease!
These delicious legumes are packed full of stress-fighting vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, manganese, and copper. In a 2012 study with over 9,000 people, those who followed a Mediterranean diet which was rich in plant-based foods, like chickpeas and other legumes, experienced better mood and less stress compared to those who followed a typical diet full of processed foods.
You mean to tell me that guacamole can help reduce my stress load? Absolutely! Due to their omega-3 fatty acids, avocados have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, boost concentration and improve mood.
Nuts are a great option and an important part of a healthy diet and can reduce stress due to their high levels of Vitamin B. Pistachios in particular play a key role in reducing stress levels – just keep in mind these are high in calories so limit your serving size to a handful a day.
Blueberries are truly a superfood! They have tons of health benefits, including reducing stress and improving mood. These berries are particularly high in antioxidants, which means they have powerful anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. They can possibly even help reduce stress-related inflammation and protect against stress-related cellular damage.
Looking to see what other foods you can add to your diet? Try these if you’re looking for a better nights rest!