Are you feeling stressed? Long office days, financial pressures, challenging children or relationship issues can really impact your stress levels and compromise your food choices by thriving comfort in sweets and junk food. Are you comforting your nerves with a bag of chips or a chocolate bar? However, this comfort is an illusion as not only unhealthy foods can contribute to the increase of your stress levels but also compromise your whole health. You can instead use food to help you to control and reduce your stress and anxiety levels while boosting you overall health and wellbeing.
Here are some great food suggestions to help you reduce your stress and anxiety.
- Fermented foods
You gut has a great influence in your brain health and chemistry, as an unhealthy gut flora can have negative effects on your brain health such as depression, moods, anxiety and stress. Good fermented foods options include kefir, kombucha, miso, sauerkraut and tempeh.
Avocados are not only delicious fruits but can also have an anti-stress action in your body by helping blood sugar levels balancing while making you feel satiated. This fruit is also packet with nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, B vitamins (e.g. folate and riboflavin), vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin C, lutein, beta-carotene, fibre and good fats, mainly monounsaturated fatty acids.
Berries such as blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are low sugar containing fruits and rich in fiber and antioxidants like anthocyanins and ellagitannins. They can help your stress and anxiety levels by contributing to blood-sugar levels regulation and dopamine production.
- Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals like magnesium, amino acids like tryptophan and good fats such as omega 3 and omega 6 essential fatty acids. Omega 3 essential fatty acids EPA (Eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA (docosahexanoic acid) for instance can promote blood and serotonin production while reducing body and brain inflammation. This can contribute to the decrease of anxiety and depression symptoms and improve emotional well-being health.
- Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale and watercress are a low calory good sources of vitamins, fiber and minerals including magnesium. Magnesium can help you to reduce your stress levels by interacting and stimulating the GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in the brain thus promoting relaxation while limiting the availability of stress hormones.
- Protein rich foods such as eggs, fish, beans, chickpeas and quinoa are good source of amino acids like histidine, leucine, phenylalanine, lysine, isoleucine, methionine, threonine, valine and tryptophan which are essential for body growth and development. Also, tryptophan is used in the production of serotonin and melatonin which aid on sleep and mood.