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9 Everyday Foods That Relieve Stress Effectively

Superfoods That Relieve Stress

Chow down on more leafy greens and citrus fruits with vit. C to lift your mood. Have fish like salmon, which has omega-3 fats that are known to prevent depression. Snack on a variety of nuts, dark chocolate, and hot cocoa once in a while. Eggs, garlic, oatmeal, and fermented foods like yogurt also help relieve stress.

You probably know that stress affects your food choices, making you overeat and pick high-fat, sugary, caffeine-laced foods and drinks over healthy options.1 13 While these foods are fine once in a while and give you the required pep, indulging in them as a defense against stress is entirely wrong. Fruits and vegetables along with fiber and carbohydrate-rich foods can signal the brain to produce more of the calming hormone serotonin. Have these 9 foods to both prevent and relieve stress.2

1. Nuts

The health benefits of incorporating a handful of nuts into your diet include relief from stress. Stress is responsible for a lot of physiological reactions in our bodies. Nuts are among foods that lower our blood pressure responses to stress. They are also rich in zinc, healthy fats, and proteins. So which is the best nut to keep you from going nuts? Eat a variety of them but just make sure you choose the unsalted versions.3

2. Leafy Greens

Well, to a number of reasons to consume your leafy greens, add one more. Lack of folate, a nutrient found abundantly in leafy green veggies like spinach and kale, has been linked to the development of depressive symptoms, according to a Finnish study. So load up on folate-rich foods that relieve stress and depression. These include dark leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus, avocado, okra, peas, citrus fruits, beans, and lentils.4

3. Eggs

According to studies, a lack of vitamin D can enhance the risk of depression in mid-adulthood. So other than some time in the sun, make sure you include vitamin D-rich foods for depression and stress such as egg yolks, beef liver, cheese, and fortified foods.5

4. Fermented Foods

A healthy gut means a healthy mind – that’s why you feel sick to the stomach when you are stressed. Studies suggest that the microbes in our gut are linked to the emotional well-being and the wellness of our central nervous system. They highlight the important role of bacteria in the two-way communication between the gut and the brain. Certain types of good bacteria like L. rhamnosus may prove to be useful in stress-related disorders such as anxiety and depression.6 Have anti-stress foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles and other fermented foods.

5. Fruits And Veggies

Turns out your mom was right all along. According to a study from the University of Otago, consuming 7 to 8 servings of fruits and veggies is a great way to keep the blues away. The study revealed that on days when young adults ate more servings of fruits and vegetables, they experienced greater positive moods, and it continued the next day as well.7

Have citrus fruits and berries for the vitamin C, which is a known stress reliever.8

6. Dark Chocolate

There’s something about chocolate that just puts you into bliss mode. One of the best foods for stress, dark chocolate, in particular, is loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols. According to a study, after 30 days of consuming a dark chocolate drink, participants reported significantly increased self-rated calmness and contentedness relative to placebo. This makes it one of the tastiest calming foods for stress and anxiety.9

7. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like salmon is another one in our list of destress foods. Study data suggests that supplementing the diet with omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and anxiety among healthy young adults. A 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms was recorded among participants, highlighting the potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for individuals without an anxiety disorder diagnosis. Other omega-3 foods that lower stress include flaxseed oil, walnuts, chia seeds and soybeans.10

8. Oatmeal

Turning into a grouch because of stress? Try oatmeal if you like the taste. The high tryptophan content in oatmeal puts your mood in the right gear. According to a study, tryptophan made participants less quarrelsome and more agreeable. Men responded better to tryptophan supplementation and behaved less dominantly. Their perception of agreeableness was also enhanced.11

Turkey, rabbit, beef, tuna, shellfish, soya, eggs, pumpkin and squash seeds, beans and lentils are other stress-relief foods loaded with tryptophan.

9. Garlic

Research has shown that individuals with stress and anxiety usually have low levels of zinc in their bodies and supplementing the diet with zinc reduces the symptoms.12 That’s where garlic comes in. It not only has a host of health benefits but is also one of the foods that help with stress and anxiety. If you don’t have a thing for garlic, try other zinc-rich foods such as lima beans, kidney beans, spinach, beef, and shrimp.

References   [ + ]

1. Zellner, Debra A., Susan Loaiza, Zuleyma Gonzalez, Jaclyn Pita, Janira Morales, Deanna Pecora, and Amanda Wolf. “Food selection changes under stress.” Physiology & behavior 87, no. 4 (2006): 789-793.
2. How To Eat Right To Reduce Stress. PCRM.
3. Eating Nuts Linked To Healthier Longer Life. Harvard Health Publications.
4. Seppälä, Jussi, Hannu Koponen, Hannu Kautiainen, Johan G. Eriksson, Olli Kampman, Satu Männistö, Pekka Mäntyselkä et al. “Association between folate intake and melancholic depressive symptoms. A Finnish population-based study.” Journal of affective disorders 138, no. 3 (2012): 473-478.
5. Maddock, Jane, Diane J. Berry, Marie-Claude Geoffroy, Chris Power, and Elina Hyppönen. “Vitamin D and common mental disorders in mid-life: cross-sectional and prospective findings.” Clinical nutrition 32, no. 5 (2013): 758-764.
6. Bravo, Javier A., Paul Forsythe, Marianne V. Chew, Emily Escaravage, Hélène M. Savignac, Timothy G. Dinan, John Bienenstock, and John F. Cryan. “Ingestion of Lactobacillus strain regulates emotional behavior and central GABA receptor expression in a mouse via the vagus nerve.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108, no. 38 (2011): 16050-16055.
7. White, Bonnie A., Caroline C. Horwath, and Tamlin S. Conner. “Many apples a day keep the blues away–Daily experiences of negative and positive affect and food consumption in young adults.” British journal of health psychology 18, no. 4 (2013): 782-798.
8. Ribeiro, Campus Universitario Darcy. “Effects of oral vitamin C supplementation on anxiety in students: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 18, no. 1 (2015): 11-18.
9. Pase, Matthew P., Andrew B. Scholey, Andrew Pipingas, Marni Kras, Karen Nolidin, Amy Gibbs, Keith Wesnes, and Con Stough. “Cocoa polyphenols enhance positive mood states but not cognitive performance: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of Psychopharmacology 27, no. 5 (2013): 451-458.
10. Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K., Martha A. Belury, Rebecca Andridge, William B. Malarkey, and Ronald Glaser. “Omega-3 supplementation lowers inflammation and anxiety in medical students: a randomized controlled trial.” Brain, behavior, and immunity 25, no. 8 (2011): 1725-1734.
11. aan het Rot, Marije, Debbie S. Moskowitz, Gilbert Pinard, and Simon N. Young. “Social behaviour and mood in everyday life: the effects of tryptophan in quarrelsome individuals.” Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN 31, no. 4 (2006): 253.
12. Russo, A. J. “Decreased zinc and increased copper in individuals with anxiety.” Nutrition and metabolic insights 4 (2011): 1.
13. Why stress causes people to overeat. Harvard Medical School.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.