When stressed, you may either feel very hungry or lose your appetite. You may feel an urge to snack on junk food, sugar rich food and experience intense cravings. While junk food may not be the ideal choice for stress relief, there are foods you can eat that will help you reduce stress.
10 superfoods for stress relief
Green leafy vegetables like spinach and parsley. These contain a substance called folate that helps produce dopamine, which reduces stress and improves your mood. Incorporating these leafy greens into your diet can help tremendously.
Pistachios. Nuts in general are high in selenium, which helps boost mood and reduce tension. Pistachios have the added benefit of helping lower heart rate and blood pressure as it contains antioxidants which help slow down your body and provide stress relief. In fact, the added benefit of slowly chewing pistachios can help you relax and give you a chance to practice mindful eating!
Beetroot. These vegetables are also a rich source of folate, which helps relieve stress. In fact, one cup of beetroot contains 30% of the folate you require in a day. Folate can help you relax, help you feel sleepy and boost your mood! The next time you decide to make hummus or pav bhaji, make a beetroot hummus and add beetroot to your vegetable mixture for the bhaji!
Turmeric. This spice packs a punch and can knock your stress out! It contains something called curcumin, which is known to stimulate the ‘feel-good’ hormones in our body, like serotonin. Incorporate it into your food and you will be able to respond to stress better.
Milk. It is a great source of Vitamin D, which helps boost your mood and happiness. As per a study by London’s UCL Health Institute, those who had high levels of Vitamin D faced a reduced risk of panic disorders as those compared to lower levels of Vitamin D. A simple hack – mix some turmeric into your warm milk, and enjoy the benefits of both. This is a good combination to help you sleep better at night too!
Cashews. A small handful of cashews can work wonders! They contain a lot of zinc, which is a mineral essential for helping reduce stress and anxiety. Zinc directly influences the neurotransmitters which help boost mood, making it ideal for stress relief. It’s also high in omega-3 and protein, making it a great health snack, rather than biscuits.
Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and is super tasty! Considered an indulgence food, it’s emotional impact cannot be undermined. When you eat chocolate, you feel like you are treating yourself, and that helps you feel good. So why not eat dark chocolate and enjoy the benefits of the antioxidants that help reduce your stress levels? Keep in mind not to eat too much dark chocolate and control your overall sugar intake.
Oranges. Fruits that are high in Vitamin C such as oranges can help your stress levels dramatically. These fruits help produce more feel-good hormones and reduce the presence of cortisol. Amla, blueberries and grapefruits are other fruits worth considering to relieve stress and anxiety.
Chicken breast. A healthy protein, this contains an amino acid called tryptophan which helps produce more serotonin. On its own, tryptophan also has a calming effect on your body, making it great for stress relief.. This is often why after eating a meal of grilled chicken and vegetables, you feel relaxed. Other foods high in tryptophan include eggs, nuts and fatty fish such as salmon!
Yoghurt. When stressed, feeling uneasy in your stomach is a common symptom. This is because the bacteria in your stomach can influence your stress levels. Consuming a probiotic via yoghurt helps provide stress relief. It not only helps beat the bacteria but sends a signal to your brain that the stomach is fine, allowing you to feel better. Given that it;s rich in calcium and proteins, it’s a great addition to your overall diet.
Stress comes with its own challenges and health problems, including burnout and potential depression. However, when managed carefully you can get better at responding to stress. This comes at a lifestyle level, based on what you eat, your exercises and how much workplace stress you may be facing. It’s important to know how to destress post work and avoid burnout as well! Moreover, the food you eat can help you sleep better and manage anxiety as well. It’s important to proactively manage stress and improve your response to stress, something mindfulness helps you do.
Evolve has a range of guided exercises and audios which provide instant stress relief and allow you to respond more mindfully to stress you face everyday! The Evolve app is now live globally on Android & Apple, click here to try for free!