Wouldn’t it be wonderful if stress were easy to manage? How about if we could eat a diet that would help us manage stress better? Would you change your McDonald’s outings for homemade meals bulked up with stress-busting vitamins and minerals? Keep reading today’s guest article by Dominique, founder of True Stress Management.
There are literally hundreds of different potential sources of stress that could sap you of energy, motivation, and drive. Some people experience stress so badly that they can even develop adverse effects of chronic stress such as physical pain, mood changes, and decreased productivity.
No matter what the source of your stress, it’s vital that you find the solution to the problem and resolve it as soon as you can. What many people don’t realize is that the food they eat could possibly have an effect on the stress they feel.
Contrary to popular belief, eating unhealthy food can actually cause you more stress than you think. Countless individuals choose to reach for a tub of ice cream or order a massive burger to counter the pressure they feel, but this might actually just be worsening the situation.
Make sure you choose the right food when you start to feel stress take over. If you’re wondering just what food you should have around your kitchen for those particularly stressful days, this helpful list should give you a better idea of what to grab the next time you find yourself at the grocery store.
1. Green Leafy Vegetables
Your mother was right when she told you vegetables are good for you. Although a lot of us know that vegetables are beneficial in terms of getting the right vitamins and nutrients to satisfy our daily needs, they’re a lot more advantageous than that.
Green leafy vegetables in particular could work wonders for the stressed out soul. Studies have shown that consuming dark, green, leafy vegetables that are rich in a component called folate could encourage the production of happy hormones and mood-regulating neurotransmitters that could change the way you feel.
Recent research has revealed that those who eat spinach on a regular basis are much less likely to experience depression and mood swings. If you start to feel that pressure starting to gain on you, you might want to chow down some spinach. Maybe that’s why Popeye was always so amiable!
Don’t feel restricted to just spinach either. Try kale, collards, swiss chard, romaine lettuce or any other dark leafy green you’d like.You can even try adding them into smoothies for a nice treat.
2. Turkey Breast
More than just a delightful treat for those Thanksgiving dinners, turkey breast deserves a permanent spot in your kitchen line up.
Turkey breast is among the best sources of tryptophan, an essential amino acid that helps with the production of serotonin. In case you didn’t know it just yet, serotonin is a hormone responsible for making you feel happy and at ease.
But not all turkey breast will give you the same effect. Processed, preservative riddled turkey breast will not bring about the same benefits, so make sure you stick to fresh turkey the next time you take a trip to the grocery store.
3. Fermented Food Items
And no, I’m not talking about beer or alcohol. While drinking alcoholic beverages might seem like a smart way to wiggle out of the blues, the relief that alcohol provides you when you’re feeling a little extra pressure will only last so long.
The fermented foods I’m talking about include things like yogurt and cultured milk. By improving the bacteria in the gut, you can enhance the function of the brain, thus allowing it to release the necessary hormones to reduce stress and improve happiness.
Salmon, or any fatty fish for that matter, isn’t just good for your heart. Omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to improve brain function and mood in people who constantly and frequently consume it.
Up to 20% of participants involved in a study regarding the omega 3 fatty acids in salmon proved to be a lot less anxious and stressed out than their non-salmon eating counterparts.
If you’re not quite keen on eating too much salmon, don’t worry. Sardines and anchovies are also excellent sources of omega 3 fatty acids. There are also supplements that you can buy over the counter at local drug stores, in case you’re not a fish person.
This delicious treat is more than just an ideal icing for those cheesecakes you love munching on so much. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, which is what allows the blueberries to achieve their rich, dark, pigmented appearance.
This particular component is also a powerful antioxidant that fights off free radicals that could be damaging your cells. By improving the health of each cell in your body and fighting off these harmful free radicals, you won’t only look more refreshed and vibrant, but you will also feel less tired and more energetic.
Who doesn’t love munching on a handful of salty green pistachios? While these delectable nuts do make the perfect snack time treat, they’re a lot more beneficial than many people know. Pistachios have been observed to reduce vascular constriction when people feel too much stress.
This means consuming this super food could enhance your blood flow and reduce the pressure on your heart if and when you feel a little too stressed.
This won’t only help reduce the stress you feel, but will also give your heart a well-deserved break for when you experience those heart bursting moments of pressure.
7. Dark Chocolate
Experts say that chocolate can release hormones that make people feel in love, and recent science has been able to prove that.
Anandamide, the hormone that chocolate consumption releases, is responsible for fighting off feelings of stress, pain and depression. This is why chocolate has become such a popular choice of snack for millions of people across the globe.
While the science behind chocolate might not seem all too clear to many of us, the benefits are obvious. When you start to feel like stress is starting to mount, grab a bar of your favorite dark chocolate and get those giddy feelings of love stirring in your system.
Whatever seeds you might be thinking of eating, they’re probably good for lowering down the stress you feel. Magnesium is found in many of the edible seeds we consume such as sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds, which could encourage the release of serotonin in the system.
Of course, what superfoods list is complete without the avocado? This fruit seems to have benefits for all different kinds of bodily aches and pains, and has now even been proven to bring about some amazing advantages for those experiencing stress.
Avocados are jam packed with health boosting nutrients that won’t only keep you feeling fit and healthy, but will also help regulate your blood sugar levels.
It’s no secret that unstable blood sugar could cause significant mood swings. Consuming avocado might just help reduce the likelihood of giving in to that stressful feeling.
Much like avocados, bananas are also full of nutrients and vitamins like potassium and folate, which have been proven to help with the production and release of certain stress inhibiting hormones. Frequent and consistent consumption of bananas can help maintain a stable mood and improve your overall well being.
The next time you feel that stress monster start to weigh on your shoulders, don’t reach for those fatty, sugary, carb-filled foods. Go only for the healthy stuff that will help reduce the stress you’re feeling.
Give your grocery list a boost by adding these 10 foods. Who knows, your next stress episode might be just around the corner. Keep yourself prepared and chow down on these treats if and when that time comes around.
About the Author
Dominique is the founder and editor of True Stress Management, a website that gives practical advice and tips on how to control stress, instead of letting it control you.
Mmmm… I love all of these foods in this list! How about you?