When our lives get busy and stress takes over, we tend to indulge in comfort foods. Most comfort foods don’t actually reduce your level of stress, however, there are some foods that can.
Vitamins and Minerals
Foods that are high in vitamin C can help give your immune system a boost when you’re stressed. They can also help lower cortisol levels in your body, which is the stress hormone. Oranges, berries, kale, peppers, and kiwi have a lot of vitamin C in them. Blueberries contain a lot of vitamin C and other antioxidants.
Magnesium is also good for handling stress. Low levels of magnesium can cause bad moods, fatigue, insomnia, and high blood pressure. Leafy green vegetables like spinach contain a lot of magnesium. Beans and brown rice have a lot, too.
Folate is also important because it helps produce dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical. Spinach and other leafy greens contain a lot of folate. Asparagus is another good source of folate.
Avocados also have a lot of folate and other vitamins and minerals in them like B vitamins which help keep nerves and brain cells healthy. They also contain a lot of potassium which helps keep blood pressure low.
Oatmeal is a complex carb that doesn’t spike blood sugar because the body digests it slowly.
It’s also warm and comforting. Add some berries and nuts and it could be a good way to help your brain generate serotonin, a destressing neurotransmitter.
Make it with milk and increase the stress-relieving powers. Milk contains a lot of antioxidants and B vitamins. The protein lactium has a calming effect on the body and there is also a lot of potassium in a glass of milk.
Nuts and Seeds
The hand-occupying task of shelling nuts can help reduce stress in some ways, but the nuts inside also have stress-relieving benefits.
Pistachios contain phytonutrients that help support cardiovascular health.
Almonds also contain a lot of vitamins B2 and E which help the immune system during stressful times.
Cashews contain a lot of zinc, a mineral that helps reduce anxiety. They also contain a lot of omega-3s and protein. But cashews and other nuts also have a lot of calories, so eat them in moderation.
Flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds contain a lot of magnesium.
This is the advice we’ve all been waiting for. A bite of dark chocolate can help reduce stress hormones. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that can help lower blood pressure and improve circulation. Look for the kinds of dark chocolate that have at least 70 percent cocoa. Remember, a bite, not the entire bar.
What to Avoid
To keep stress levels regulated, avoid refined sugars. They give a quick boost of energy and then a sugar low follows. The same happens with white carbs like potato chips, flour, bread, and pasta.
Caffeine can also cause jitters, heart palpitations, and insomnia if stress levels are already high. Opt for decaf or herbal teas instead. Many herbal teas can help reduce stress hormones.
If you need help reaching your nutritional goals, the professionals at B3 Medical can help. Contact us today.