5 Foods to Reduce Stress
Just thinking about all the chores that are building up, the errands you have to run, the looming work deadlines and the social demands on your overbooked calendar can run you ragged. Talk about stress!
If left unchecked, stress can lead to many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Not to mention stress can also take a toll on your thoughts and behavior.
When life gets hectic and we’re feeling stressed, we tend to put healthy eating on the back burner. Some of us even “stress eat” and those foods tend to be not-so-healthy. But heading to the vending machine or grabbing a meal at the drive-thru won’t alleviate the stress in your day.
To combat stress levels, take a look at what you eat. It may actually help relieve your tension. In fact, certain foods can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and your emotional response to stress.
Here are 5 foods you can eat to reduce stress.
When we’re stressed our blood pressure can become elevated. A study* published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet which includes whole grains such as oats can lower blood pressure. Oats have long been used by herbalists to help reduce stress in the body. Oats can be inflammatory so it’s best to soak them before cooking to reduce phytic acid, and eat along with protein and healthy fats for blood sugar stability.
Tip: Oatmeal in a jar is a great way to keep a healthy meal or snack available at any time.
Researchers have found eating blueberries can increase the count of a specific white blood cell that boosts immunity. Having a healthy immune system can help counter stress. Blueberries are also low on the glycemic index as far is fructose so they are a good choice for fruit to keep you sugar intake low.
Tip: Try adding blueberries to your oatmeal or yogurt in the morning.
- Flax Seeds
This superfood is an excellent source of magnesium which may help regulate emotions, alleviate depression, combat fatigue and minimize irritability. Magnesium can also help fight PMS! We also love chia seeds and recommend rotating those into your diet regimen as well.
Tip: Try adding a teaspoon of flax seeds to your next smoothie.
- Dark Chocolate
Studies have shown that regularly eating dark chocolate can reduce the stress hormones in your body including cortisol and catecholamines (aka fight or flight hormones). It can also ease emotional stress. That’s great news for all you chocoholics! Professor Kerry Bone of MediHerb recommends dark chocolate daily as part of a healthy, anti-oxidant diet, especially for women.
Tip: Stick with the kind that contains at least 85% cocoa and keep it to just a bite or two and not the whole bar.
These kidney-shaped nuts (actually a legume) are a good source of zinc which is a critical mineral that can help reduce anxiety symptoms such as irritability and lack of focus. Their portable nature makes them an ideal snack to keep in your purse for when you’re on the go. Raw is better.
Tip: You can easily find ready-made single-serve packs at your grocery store or buy in bulk and make your own bags. Toss a couple in your purse on your way out the door.
Adding these 5 foods into your diet can help you relieve stress and help with your health and wellbeing. Which one will you try?
What food do you turn to in times of stress? Share it with us in the comments.
Be Well & Thrive!
With Love & In Health,
Sarah Outlaw, MH, MSACN
- For more information on who we are and what we do at Natural Health Improvement Center of South Jersey and Natural Health Improvement Center of Des Moines, browse the rest of our website. We offer Root Cause Nutrition, Nutritional Coaching, Nutrition Response Testing, Functional Nutrition, Herbal Medicine, Flower Essence Therapy, and Homeopathy. We also offer detox services including an infrared sauna, and PEMF (pulsed electromagnetic field therapy mat, and foot bath (DSM office). We are on the front lines of wellness for you! Health starts here!