10 Common Foods That Are Proven To Reduce Stress

Chocolate Cake

 

Eight years ago, journalist Anna Magee came to nutritional therapist Charlotte Watts desperate for a diet and fitness plan that would help relieve stress while shedding excess pounds.

Today, Magee and Watts are the authors behind The De-Stress Diet, a lifestyle plan for losing weight by getting rid of chronic stress, released in January.

“The book looks at diet and lifestyle in a modern way that hasn’t been covered before,” said Watts, who is also a yoga teacher of five years. “It doesn’t give you a prescriptive, one-size fits all regimen, but helps you find out what suits you as an individual by helping to investigate your own default lifestyle.”

In addition to eating well, Watts says you should pay attention to the way you breathe, keep yourself active, and most importantly, give yourself time to rest.

Stress isn’t always a bad thing—it can often be motivating—but overwhelming anxiety becomes damaging when we don’t give ourselves enough recovery time.

To stay healthy by keeping calm, Magee and Watts helped us compile a list of 10 foods with properties shown to repair and protect your body from the effects of long-term stress.

“These foods provide nutrients like B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium that we tend to use up really quickly in response to stress. Many also have therapeutic benefits like balancing blood sugar and staving off stress-induced cravings for sugary foods,” said Watts.

 

Celery

Celery

 

Celery has a wide-range of calming effects. Research has shown that eating four stalks of celery a day can lower raised blood pressure, a common stress-related symptom.

The crunchy green vegetable also contains tryptophan, which triggers the release of serotonin, helping to support sleep and reduce anxiety.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

Garlic

Garlic has been used for thousands of years for its potent antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. These health-protective qualities are known to help reduce inflammation, support circulation, aid blood sugar balance, and encourage detoxification—all of which can become compromised in the face of stress.

Garlic is also rich in antioxidants that help to protect body cells and tissues from stress-related damage.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

Brassicas vegetables

Also known as cruciferous vegetables, this illustrious family includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, collards, pak choi, horseradish, and mustard leaves.

Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfur compounds that stimulate enzymes in the body that have been shown to stop the growth of cancer cells.

Another chemical—indole-3-carbinol—appears to lower estrogen in women, a female hormone associated with increased risks of breast cancer, depression, anxiety, and mood swings when in excess.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

Licorice

Licorice

Wikipedia

While traditionally used to treat digestive ailments and ulcers commonly caused by stress, licorice also has a reputation for fighting adrenal fatigue produced by chronic stress. The adrenal glands, which sit just above the kidneys, are mainly responsible for releasing hormones such as cortisol in response to stress. An increase in cortisol is associated with a quick energy boost, increased immunity, and heightened memory functions.

Long-term stress, however, can deplete the morning production of cortisol leading to chronic exhaustion and causing us to turn to sugary breakfast cereals or caffeine for a burst of energy.

By preventing the breakdown of cortisol, Licorice helps to maintain healthy cortisol levels and keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

Oily fish

Oily fish

 

Oily fish, including mackerel, anchovies, salmon, trout, and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help with brain function, heart health, and how we cope with stress. Oily fish also contain B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium that help reduce sugar-addiction cycles and counteract the damaging effects of stress on the body.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

Chamomile

Chamomile

 

The soothing properties of chamomile tea are well-known to treat insomnia, anxiety, and stomach problems.

Chamomile also raises levels of a substance called hippuric acid in the body, the same chemical in cranberries and blueberries that fights infection. It may also help regulate digestive issues like stomach cramps and constipation – common symptoms for those with stress-related Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Used tea bags also make great compresses for puffy, tired eyes with dark circles.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

 

Chocolate

Chocolate

 

Before Europeans added sugar to chocolate, the bitter cocoa bean was celebrated by the Aztecs for its health-giving properties (its Latin name theobroma even means ‘food of the gods’).

Research has shown that 40g of dark chocolate a day can help us cope with stress by releasing ‘happy chemicals’ known as beta endorphins in the brain.

When it comes to a treat, dark chocolate can be a good snack choice to stave off cravings for less healthy choices, while providing a much-needed energy boost without the agitating effects of caffeine. It’s also higher antioxidants than usual roasted beans.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

Nuts

Nuts

 

Nuts are crammed with B vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and omega oils, nutrients that are depleted when anxiety is high. As a source of healthy fats, nuts have also been shown to curb appetite, naturally balance blood sugar levels, reduce sugar cravings, and support the metabolism.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

Olive oil

Olive oil

Olive oil, a central ingredient of the Mediterranean diet, has been shown to help prevent depression and fight inflammation. There is also evidence that olive oil protects against oxidative stress, an underlying cause of heart disease.

Olive oil also helps the body absorb fat-soluble nutrients like vitamins A and E and carotenoids that protect  the brain, heart, liver, eyes and skin from the damaging effects of stress.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

 

Berries

Berries

 

Berries are rich in antioxidants that have been shown to support circulation, brain function, and prevent premature aging, often a result of chronic stress.

Raspberries, in particular, have the highest levels of ellagic acid, a chemical that helps to eliminate toxins as well as regulate cholesterol and female hormones.

Berries are also known to temper the release of sugars into the bloodstream after eating, which makes them a good choice to control sugar cravings after a sweet snack.

Source: The De-Stress Diet

 

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