We all have days when we are stressed out. Arguments with kids, a husband out of town, a major leak in the kitchen and too many deadlines have all played a part in my stress over the last few months. I tend to eat in response to my increased stress levels which is not good for my waistline! But, if I am going to eat, then I should focus on nibbling on foods that relieve stress, right? Well, instead of reaching for that hot fudge sundae or the box of Girl Scout cookies you just bought, grab a few of these healthy foods to help reduce your stress levels!
10 of the Tastiest Foods That Relieve Stress
There are so many health benefits of avocados that you should already be eating a ton of them. If you aren’t, then consider making up a bowl of homemade guacamole, an avocado smoothie or just chop up a fresh avocado and toss it onto your salad. Honestly, this is one of my favorite foods that relieve stress since it give me an excuse to break out the chips!
Berries contain a ton of antioxidants and are great for protecting your body against the negative side effects of your stressful life. All berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are high in vitamin C, which helps combat stress.
Cashews, like all nuts, are high in protein. Blood sugar is stabilized by having enough protein in your diet. That means if your stress comes from that ‘hangry’ feeling, you will help fight off hunger by adding more protein into your diet. Cashews are also high in zinc and low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression.
Oh, YAY, you think! Your favorite stress food is included in the list, right? Well, make sure you choose the RIGHT chocolate! Dark chocolate is known to lower blood pressure which contributes to your feelings of calmness.
When you eat oatmeal, your brain releases serotonin, a feel-good chemical. It is also a great way to fill up and increase the fiber content in your diet. Seriously…a constipated person is NEVER happy, right? Check out my recipe for these easy overnight oats for a no fuss way to get your oatmeal every morning.
Bananas are always in my fruit bowl. Thankfully, they are inexpensive, even if I do splurge on buying the organic ones. One average size has 30% of the day’s vitamin B6, which helps the brain produce serotonin. Serotonin is that feel good chemical I mentioned earlier.
I am a huge fan of tuna and there are always several cans in my pantry. I always look for sustainably caught tuna, even though it is a little pricier. According to Prevention Magazine:
A 3-ounce serving of canned white tuna has about 800 mg of omega-3s, which research suggests may treat the kind of blues that leave you feeling low or anxious. The fatty acids in fish have been endorsed by the American Psychiatric Association as an effective part of depression treatment, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of Eat Your Way to Happiness
Green leafy vegetables
Skip the burger at lunch and instead pile a salad full of green leafy vegetables onto your plate. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical. So, the salad may not be quite as tasty as the burger but you will be left feeling happier after you eat it. Make this basil and spinach salad and get your leafy greens and your berries in one sitting!
We all know that post-Thanksgiving dinner feeling of total happiness and satisfaction, right? Well, turkey breast contains tryptophan, an amino acid that, helps produce serotonin, the chemical that regulates hunger and feelings of happiness and well-being. So, pile some turkey breast onto your sandwich at lunch for more relaxation in the afternoon.
In my house, yogurt is purchased in bulk in multiple flavors. We eat it for breakfast and lunch, put it into smoothies, and find all sorts of ways to include it into our diet. Yogurt contains probiotics which help improve your gut health. According to Health.com,
The bacteria in your gut might be contributing to stress. Research has shown that the brain signals to the gut, which is why stress can inflame gastrointestinal symptoms; communication may flow the other way too, from gut to brain. A 2013 UCLA study among 36 healthy women revealed that consuming probiotics in yogurt reduced brain activity in areas that handle emotion, including stress compared to people who consumed yogurt without probiotics or no yogurt at all.
Want more information about foods that relieve stress? I found quite a bit of information on Mercola.com and Prevention.com. Just remember, stress eating can be a GOOD thing if you choose the right foods to eat. If you decide to hit the drive-through to combat your stressful day, you will probably just end up feeling worse!