Your mood can be directly related to what you eat. When you are too busy and tired, you feel stressed out; it is tempting to grab refined carbohydrates and eat them in uncontrollable quantities. Instead of reaching a candy bar or dishing out a big bowl of ice cream to make yourself "feel" better, try some of these foods we've mentioned below. These particular comfort foods provide the vitamins and minerals for our bodies. Here's a list of the top 20 magical foods for stress relief.
Oranges are very rich in vitamin C and have the added benefit of being totally portable. Stress makes our body release even more free radicals than when we are in good mood. Interestingly, vitamin C helps to keep the free radicals in control, and repairs the body. Basically, it helps protect the body from the cumulative effects of stress.
Bananas are filled with potassium, the mineral essential to regulation of blood pressure (which can soar when you’re stressed). Bananas are also great in pacifying and soothing the mind since they are rich in tryptophan known as an amino acid which boosts the formation of serotonin hormone (makes you feel good) and melatonin hormone (makes you sleep well).
3. Spinach and broccoli
Nutrition experts advise us to take enough magnesium in our daily meals to avoid migraine headaches and a feeling of fatigue. One cup of spinach provides 40 percent of your daily needs for magnesium.
Broccoli contains lots of vitamins that help replenish our bodies in times under pressure. This stress relieving food is the same as spinach which is a great source of magnesium. It is also rich in vitamin B, especially folic acid which helps relieve anxiety, panic and even depression.
The monounsaturated fats and potassium in avocados help lower blood pressure. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that one of the best ways to lower blood pressure is to consume enough potassium (avocados have more than bananas). Moreover, it is also rich in glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage.
Avocados are claimed to contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and more folate than any other fruit. A single serving (about one-quarter of an avocado) has plenty of B vitamins, too.
Blueberries are crammed with antioxidants and vitamin C, which are potent stress busters. Antioxidants fight free radicals that damage your cells and also help to repair and protect your body from the effects of stress. As an added bonus, they're low in calories, so they won't make you blimp-like .Blueberries are also a good source of fiber, which can help relieve the cramps and constipation that can occur in times of tension. Mix the little suckers with some cottage cheese or eat them on their own as a snack or dessert.
6. Chamomile tea
This is probably one of the most recommended bedtime soothers. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania tested chamomile supplements on 57 participants with generalized anxiety disorder for 8 weeks, and found out that it led to a significant drop in anxiety symptoms.
According to the University Of Maryland Medical Center, there is some evidence that, in addition to calming nerves, chamomile promotes sleep. Just pour a cup of boiling water over 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of the dried flowers (you can buy chamomile either loose or in tea bags at health food stores) and steep for 10 minutes. You will be really relaxed when enjoying this special drink.
7. Green tea
Green tea contains polyphenols that are powerful anti-oxidants that stimulate availability dopamine (dopamine is important for creating positive mood status). Sipping a warm cup of tea is a soothing activity that will help you prepare for the day ahead and feel nurtured.
8. Milk and yogurt
Milk and yoghurt are very high in calcium and B vitamins, which help to build your bones and are essential for nerve health. They also contain the mood stabilizer tryptophan, which helps to calm your mind, and explains why some people like to drink a glass of milk before bed.
9. Ginger tea
Taking a whiff of ginger tea can help improve your mood and give you a sunny disposition. It leaves you feeling refreshed and calm, and if you’re having a bad day, all those negative vibes will dissipate. Ginger tea is a remarkable stress reliever because of its comforting and relaxing scent.
Oatmeal causes your brain to produce serotonin, a feel-good chemical. Not only does serotonin have antioxidant properties, it also brings a comfortable feeling that helps reduce stress. Oatmeal is an energy food that provides plenty of folic acid. If eaten on a daily basis, oatmeal can also help reduce your risk for heart disease.
Studies have shown that kids who eat oatmeal for breakfast stay sharper throughout the morning. And beta-glucan, the type of soluble fiber found in oatmeal, has been shown to promote greater satiety scores than other whole grains.
11. Brown rice
Complex carbohydrates are great for maintaining high energy levels in stressful situations. Brown rice and whole wheat pasta are complex carbohydrates that give you a sustained amount of energy throughout the day.
Salmon, which contains omega-3 fatty acids, helps brain cells to function more efficiently. As shown by a study from Diabetes & Metabolism, omega-3s help reduce levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
This kind of fish, like milk, is high in B6 and B12 which are a prime source in fighting against stress. Tuna is also a good low-fat protein food so we can eat it at least 3 times a week to get the ultimate stress fighting benefits. However, there is a caution that we should avoid eating too much mayonnaise in our tuna to reduce unhealthy fats.
Oysters are loaded with zinc. A six oyster serving, which is what you'd typically be served in a restaurant as an appetizer, has more than half the RDA for this important mineral. It is suggested that they're best served on ice with nothing but a lemon wedge.
15. Beef (Grass-fed beef is better)
Beef is a great dinner option for a stressed-out family since it contains high levels of zinc, B vitamins and iron, which are also known to help stabilize your mood. A recent study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that healthy volunteers who ate grass-fed meat increased their blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids and decreased their levels of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids. These changes have been linked with a lower risk of a host of disorders, including depression, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and inflammatory disease.
Despite the fact that chocolate usually has caffeine, it's also one of the best foods to eat if you are engaging in a stress relief diet. Actually, most doctors have not figured out why chocolate makes us feel so good while some think it might be the antioxidants contained in chocolate. Because chocolate is high in calories so remember not to eat it too much. Obviously, when you gain 10 lbs, you'll feel even more stressed than before you tried to relieve your stress with chocolate.
Cashews are an especially good source of zinc. Nutritionists show that low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety as well as depression. In fact, our bodies have no way of storing zinc, it's vital to get some every day. However, for those going on a diet, they should use a proper serving size, as cashews are high in calories.
Garlic is rich in antioxidants which help neutralize free radicals (particles that have bad effects in our cells, encourage aging and cause diseases). Allicin, which is one of the compounds in garlic, has been linked to fending off cancer, heart disease, and even the common cold. Because stress weakens our immune system, it is necessary for us to eat garlic, which can toughen it back up. As long as you saute it in broth, not oil, you can add it liberally to all the meals on the plan.
Walnuts contain fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids, particularly alpha linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. These compounds could be responsible for the beneficial effects on blood pressure. Other polyphenols loaded in walnuts have been shown to help prevent memory loss. Now, nutrition experts have discovered that these tasty nuts can help battle stress and may also help reduce C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation.
These crunchy little dudes are great stress relievers: they're packed with vitamin B2 (riboflavin), zinc, magnesium and vitamin E. B vitamins and magnesium are involved in the production of serotonin, which helps relieve stress and regulate mood. Zinc has also been shown to fight some of the negative effects of stress, while vitamin E is an antioxidant that destroys the free radicals related to stress and heart disease. However, you should only eat a small handful at a time since almonds are high in fat. Although it is mostly healthy fat of the unsaturated variety, it could still make you pack on the pounds.