10 Foods That Calm & De-Stress
Updated: Jul 4, 2019
Did you know - Cocoa and Chocolate, which are rich in antioxidants, have been known to reduce stress.
In this post I want to provide you with 10 easy to buy foods that provide your body with the right nutrients to reduce your stress levels and ways that you can include these foods into your diet today.
#1 Cocoa, Chocolate
Yes that's right!! listen to your chocolate cravings next time you feel stressed. Dark chocolate has been shown to reduce cortisol levels in people who felt highly stressed. Good quality cocoa is high in flavonoids which are anti-inflammatory and help protect against free radical damage (good for heart health). Want to combine a few anti-stress foods into one super food snack, try this - melt dark chocolate (aim for coco solid rating above 70%) over a double boiler, mix with dried blueberries, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Spread onto a sheet of baking paper and set in the fridge. Break into bite sized pieces and enjoy.
Asparagus has high amounts of vitamin C and selenium which both support the immune system and b vitamin which help us to feel calm. Asparagus should be firm and straight and can be easily steamed or added raw to salads.
Blueberries are at the top of the antioxidant list and contain high amounts of vitamin C, B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. The antioxidant anthocyanins have been shown to aid you brain in the production of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that improves our mood. Eat fresh blueberries as a snack or mix with your breakfast smoothie.
Avocados contain vitamin E and B vitamins. Avocados have been shown to help keep you feeling satiated for longer after a meal, which will reduce unnecessary snacking and help you avoid feeling 'hangry'. The ways to use avocados is so vast, here are a few of my favorites. Mashed into guacamole and spread over seed crackers, added to a smoothie to make it thick creamy and delicious, added to a salad or turned into a chocolate mousse. Here is a great smoothie recipe; 1 handful of spinach, 1/4 banana, 1/2 c blueberries, 1/4 avocado, 1 tsp spirulina, 3/4 cup of kefir. Put all ingredients into a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
#5 Grass-Fed Beef
Grass-fed beef is high in iron, zinc, selenium and B vitamins. Iron is one of the nutrients that energizes our bodies, zinc plays a part in modulating the brain and body's reaction to stress. Grass-fed beef also has a better ratio between omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids, which helps to reduce inflammation. Enjoy your beef as a marinated steak with steamed broccoli or cut into strips and stir fried with seasonal vegetables served over brown rice.
Turkey has high amounts of tryptophan, amino acid that is the precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is thought to be responsible for maintaining mood balance. Turkey is becoming more popular in NZ and is delicious roasted with oranges and served with roast kumara and broccoli.
Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are high in magnesium. Magnesium is a natural tranquilizer, as it's functions are to relax skeletal muscles as well as the smooth muscles of the blood vessels and gastrointestinal tract. Magnesium aids sleep so best to be taken 1 hr before bed. Seeds are an essential part of any trail mix and can be added to salads.
A superfood that seems to pop up a lot these days. Broccoli is high in the stress fighting b-vitamins and folic acid (a member of the vitamin B family). These nutrients help to counteract stress and enhance metabolism. Broccoli is best lightly steamed and served with butter.
Are high in fat and protein both of which nourish the nervous system. The Omega 3 fatty acid in walnuts is alpha-linolenic which has been shown keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline in check. Walnuts can be eaten raw or made into delicious bliss balls.
#10 Dark Leafy Greens
High in magnesium and b vitamins, especially folic acid (folate or folacin) which has two important functions in the brain. 1- Folic acid helps to maintain the the right balance of neurotransmitters. 2 - Folic acid aids in the production of serotonin. Dark leafy greens include; kale, spinach, swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, as well as red and green leaf and romaine lettuce. For easy ways to use dark leafy greens try to add a handful of spinach to a smoothie or make a salad using red or green leaf lettuce.
So the next time you feel stressed, reach for a piece dark chocolate or try to include as many of the foods above into your next few days
For more information in how to reduce your stress levels, increase your energy levels and feel fabulous please get in touch for a no obligation chat about your health.