If you are feeling stressed the solution may be as simple as eating the right food. “Food sends chemical messages to the brain that either trigger or tame our stress reactions,” Dr. Heidi Hanna, chief energy officer of synergy brain fitness and a Fellow of the American Institute of Stress, tells Newsmax.
“Helpful stress-taming foods include a balance of natural sources of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fat that keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. You should also consume a rainbow of produce to provide anti-oxidants.”
Here are the top 10 stress-taming foods:
- Avocados and bananas. Avocados have healthy fat, omega-3, that soothes the nervous system. Both fruits contain potassium, a vital mineral that helps control blood pressure to keep you calm.
- Swiss chard. Hanna says that the magnesium in this colorful veggie helps the nervous system to relax.
- Fatty fish. Fish like salmon, sardines, tuna and other cold-water fish are chock full of omega-3 fatty acids that provide nourishing elements to the brain to our bodies back into balance. Omega-3’s also help manage adrenalin levels to keep you cool, calm and collected.
- Carrots. Munching on healthy, low-calorie vegetables like carrots or celery sticks helps beat stress. Nutrient-rich snacks offer satisfying crispiness without bogging you down like surgery treats. Celery, too, contains potassium to help regulate blood pressure.
- Whole-wheat pretzels. When your body craves a soothing carb snack, whole-wheat pretzels are an ideal option. The combination of fiber and carbohydrates offers an energy boost and signals the brain to release the feel-good hormone, serotonin.
- Milk. Drinking a glass of milk before bedtime will help you sleep more restfully because of the B vitamins, vitamin D and bone-building calcium that helps relieve and relax muscles. Stick to low-fat milk or drink the lactose-free variety if you are watching your weight or are lactose intolerant.
- Nuts. Nuts are an ideal snack because a mere handful can boost your immune system when you feel run down and overwhelmed by stress. Nuts contain the mineral zinc which helps every cell of the body fight invading bacteria and viruses. Avoid salted nuts, however, as they may raise blood pressure.
- Chocolate. Research shows that eating dark chocolate may lower the levels of stress hormones. Because chocolate contains sugar which is a carbohydrate, it also helps send a signal to the brain to release mood-improving serotonin. Limit portions, however, to an ounce daily.
- Herbal tea. Sometimes it’s not the nutrients in a food or beverage that calms the nerves, but the feeling that comes when you indulge. A soothing cup of warm, herbal tea can work wonders on frazzled nerves. Certain herbal teas like lavender and chamomile have been shown to be excellent stress-busters.
- Probiotics. Studies have shown that having a healthy gut helps beat anxiety and depression and also improves mood. Probiotics help create and maintain healthy gut bacteria and also boost your immune system. Supplements are available but you can also find probiotics in fermented foods like kefir, a fermented yogurt drink and kombucha. Miso, a Japanese fermented bean paste, is an excellent probiotic and can be found in miso soup.