Stress is the body’s way of responding to external changes. When you feel stressed, the nervous system responds by releasing stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. Your heart beats faster, muscles tighten and your senses become sharper. These changes increase your strength, stamina and reaction time and enhance your focus. In such a way, stress can help you meet new challenges. However, beyond your comfort zone, stress can cause major damage to your mind and body. Thankfully, there are foods that you can eat on a regular basis to help better manage stress, as these foods can boost levels of serotonin and cut levels of adrenaline and cortisol, to keep you happy. Also, a healthy diet can help reduce the impact of stress by building up the immune system and lower blood pressure.
When you have too little magnesium, it can trigger headaches and fatigue, which increases the effects of stress. With just a cup of spinach, it immediately helps you stock back up on magnesium. Other green and leafy vegetables, such as Kale or swiss chard, are good options as well.
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in protein-containing foods signals the brain to release the feel-good chemical serotonin. Turkey contains loads of tryptophan, which helps regulate hunger and creates feelings of happiness. Tryptophan promotes calmness and tiredness as well.
Omega-3 fatty acids, can help prevent sudden increases in stress hormones and can help protect you against heart disease and depression. Aim for at least three ounces of fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, at least twice a week, for a steady supply of feel-good omega-3s.
Studies have suggested that vitamin C, found in oranges, can help curb levels of adrenaline and cortisol, while strengthening the immune system. Also, by getting enough potassium, you can reduce high blood pressure, and just half an avocado contains more potassium than a medium-sided banana.
Nuts and seeds contain lots of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Most nuts, including cashews, pecan and walnuts, contain zinc, a mineral key in serotonin production, which helps balance your mood. Also, pistachios, and almonds can help lower cholesterol, and improve your immunity, as they are crammed with vitamins B and E, which decreases blood pressure.
Include some of these specific superfoods and superfruits into your daily meals, to feel better and stress lesser. And be sure to check out 5 Healthy Breakfast Food Swaps to help you start your day right and 200 Calories or Less Yoghurty, Chocolaty and Fruity Snacks to give you the much needed mid-day energy booster.
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Helpguide.org | Stress Symptoms, Signs, and Causes
Institute of Mental Health | Overcoming Stress
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