Health Stress

Eat to beat stress:
10 foods that reduce stress

Health Matters: Eat to beat stress: 10 foods that reduce stress

Feeling stressed? Instead of reaching for junk, try these foods for stress relief.

1. Green Leafy Vegetables
foods that reduce stressDark leafy greens like spinach are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. One 2012 study found people who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression than those who ate the least. 

2. Nuts
foods that reduce stressNuts are a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin. Research shows that argumentative people who consumed tryptophan become markedly more pleasant. Pumpkin seeds, turkey breast, and free-range organic eggs are also rich sources of tryptophan.

3. Yogurt
foods that reduce stressThe secret to improving your mental health is in your gut, as unhealthy gut flora can have a detrimental impact your brain health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression. Beneficial bacteria have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via your vagus nerve.

Women who regularly ate yogurt containing beneficial bacteria had improved brain function compared to those who did not consume probiotics. Commercial yogurt however is unhealthy — loaded with artificial sweeteners, colors, flavorings, and sugar. Most importantly, the vast majority of commercial yogurts have clinically insignificant levels of beneficial bacteria.

You would be far better off making your own yogurt from raw milk.

4. Fish
foods that reduce stressFound in salmon, sardines, and anchovies, or supplement form, such as krill oil, the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA play a role in your emotional well- being. 

5. Blueberries 
foods that reduce stressAnthocyanins are the pigments that give berries like blueberries and blackberries their deep color. These antioxidants aid your brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function, and your mood. 

6. Pistachios
foods that reduce stressOne study found eating two servings of pistachios a day lowered vascular constriction during stress, which means the load on your heart is reduced since your arteries are more dilated. Not to mention, you might find the rhythmic act of shelling pistachios therapeutic, as doing a repetitive activity can help quiet racing thoughts in your head.

7. Dark Chocolate
foods that reduce stressIf you’re one of those individuals who get a nice mood boost whenever you sink your teeth into a bar of pure, unadulterated chocolate, it is not happenstance. There’s a chemical reason behind it called anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression.

It’s a derivative of the Sanskrit word “bliss,” and one of the great things about chocolate is that it not only produces this compound, it also contains other chemicals that prolong the “feel-good” aspects of anandamide.

8. Sunshine
foods that reduce stressIt’s not technically a food, but a daily dose of sunshine might help stabilize your mood. Serotonin, the brain hormone associated with mood elevation, rises with exposure to bright light and falls with decreased sun exposure. Low vitamin D levels are also associated with an increased risk of panic disorders.

9. Seeds 
foods that reduce stressMagnesium, which acts as a precursor for neurotransmitters like serotonin, is well-known for its role in helping to regulate your emotions and enhance well- being. Seaweed and green leafy vegetables like spinach can be excellent sources of magnesium, as are some beans, nuts, and seeds, like pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds.

Avocados also contain magnesium. Juicing your vegetables is an excellent option to ensure you’re getting enough of them in your diet. 

10. Avocado
foods that reduce stressAvocados provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folate, and, according to research published in the Nutrition Journal, eating just one-half of a fresh avocado with lunch may satiate you if you’re overweight, which will help prevent unnecessary snacking later.

Sugary, Starchy Foods Are the Worst Choices
When You’re Stressed Many people equate “comfort” foods with carbs, but sugar and grains are among the worst foods to eat when you’re stressed out. Here’s why…

  1. Sugar
    Sugar can lead to fluctuations in blood sugar, which can bring on mood swings, but its role in poor mood actually goes much deeper than that. Sugar (particularly fructose) and grains contribute to insulin and leptin resistance and impaired signaling, which play a significant role in your mental health.

    Sugar consumption also triggers a cascade of chemical reactions in your body that promote chronic inflammation. In the long term, inflammation disrupts the normal functioning of your immune system, which is linked to a greater risk of depression.

  2. Gluten
    Gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye, and barley, may negatively impact mood and brain health. In fact, a number of studies indicate that wheat can have a detrimental effect on mood, promoting depression and even more serious mental health problems such as schizophrenia.
  3. Processed Foods
    The list of potentially mood-busting ingredients in processed foods is a long one. Aside from sugar and gluten, they may also contain trans fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners, and other synthetic ingredients linked to irritability and poor mood.

There’s no cure-all food to erase stress, but you can get some stress relief by exercising and including more of these foods in your diet.

Source: stress-relieving- superfoods.aspx

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