Health

Top 11 Foods That Help You Combat Stress

Deadlines are inevitable in the crazy-busy life of every productive woman and so is the stress that they bring. Beat the stress with these 11 super foods!

When it’s time you're running against, the last thing you need is someone telling you to step away from your work desk so that you can cook yourself a healthy, balanced meal.

So, if you're feeling stressed with all the deadlines you have to meet, not to mention your full social calendar, fight back with these top foods to relieve you of the tension and stress.

1. Leafy, Green Vegetables

Cime di rapa

Most of us are tempted to grab fast food or just about anything from the vending machine when stressed. Instead of your usual go-to food, choose to go green. Green leafy veggies are rich in folate, which produces dopamine—the brain chemical responsible for releasing pleasure-inducing hormones.

According to a University of Otago study conducted in 2013, college students who consistently ate vegetables felt happier, calmer and more energetic than those who didn’t.

Another study in the 2012 Journal of Affective Disorders showed that middle-aged and older people who consumed more folate showed lower risks of depression. In general, experts have agreed that choosing to eat green veggies can bring about more positive feelings than opting for fast food.

2. Milk

Milk is not only rich in calcium, but also boasts vitamins B2, B12, protein, potassium and antioxidants—all of which have been proven to help combat insomnia when consumed warm and before bedtime. The result is renewed energy in the morning after a good night’s rest.

3. Vegetable Curry

Spicy Indian food has two components to help you feel better: curcumin and capsaicin. Curcumin in curry helps to shield the major parts of your brain from the weight of stress while capsaicin, which is found in chili peppers, releases the hormone endorphin to calm you when you are tensed.

4. Dark Chocolate

Noble dark chocolate on a wooden table

I’m sure you know how dark chocolate is commonly used as a stress cure. It has been proven to work against stress as found in a 2009 Swiss study. Choose a dark chocolate with energy-boosting almonds and you'll be off in a better mood.

5. Smoothies

Make sure to include a ripe banana as it contains potassium, which aids in lowering the blood pressure. Another option is to add unsweetened cocoa powder, which releases the dopamine your body needs to feel calm and re-energized.

6. Nuts and Seeds

Whether its almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios or pumpkin seeds, you'll be sure to knock down stress with antioxidant-rich nuts and seeds. Pumpkin seeds boast tryptophan, which helps the brain in serotonin production, while cashews contain selenium, which has been linked to an elevated mood. They all contain unsaturated fat and fiber.

7. Green Tea

Green tea has an amino acid called L-theanine, which has been known to make you feel cool and calm when confronted with pressure.

8. Avocados

customer choosing avocados in the supermarket

Avocados are rich in glutathione, which block fats that can cause an oxidative damage in your body. It has more folate than any other fruit as well as vitamin E, beta-carotene and lutein—all of which work to provide your body with feel-good hormones.

9. Oatmeal

We all know that oatmeal is rich in fiber, which aids in the digestion of food. Aside from this, the fiber in oatmeal digests slowly so it doesn't cause a spike in blood sugar levels like other fruits.

It also boasts components that help the body to release serotonin, the hormone responsible for feeling awesome. Add some frustration-easing cinnamon to a warm and hearty bowl of oats and you'll be off in an awesome mood.

10. Berries

Sweet and fresh berries contain a large amount of antioxidants to bust the stress you feel, plus they have vitamin C to help boost the immune system. Add them to a cup of low-fat yoghurt, which has calcium and energizing protein, to help your body to release some feel-good neurotransmitters.

11. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is one of the best known bedtime soothers out there. According to a University of Pennsylvania study, chamomile can help to ease symptoms of anxiety.

The University of Maryland Medical Center also did a study and concluded that chamomile can calm the nerves and promote sleep. You can drink chamomile tea warm or iced.

Stress doesn't have to ruin your day or take over your life. With daily exercise and a healthy, balanced diet, you can be in your best health each day. While it is true that there's no food that can erase frustration when stress strikes, you can reach for any of these stress-busting foods and drinks to help relieve you stress and get you back on task.

What are your go-to foods when you're stressed? Are there any other foods you believe help in beating stress? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

About the author

Maine Belonio

Maine Belonio is a twenty-something mom and writer who has a penchant for coffee, long distance running, Tolkien, Switchfoot, and Jesus.

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