Most of us would agree that life is a busy endeavor, which can lead to lots of stress. And the busier we get, the more stress we have to deal with.
Fortunately, there is a medicine-free way in which you can reduce a significant portion of that stress, all from the comfort of your own kitchen and dining room. Here are six excellent, healthy foods that can help you lower your stress levels naturally:
1. Grab A Couple Handfuls Of Almonds Daily
Almonds, and other nuts, are so good for so many different reasons - among them; their ability to reduce your stress level.
Nuts are loaded with vitamin E, which boosts immunity. A healthy immune system means you're less likely to fall victim to that cold that's making its way around the office, and a healthier you means a less stressed you, too.
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.
2. There's No Fish Like Oily Fish
Fish like salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is the perfect dinner de-stress option. Omega-3’s have been shown to boost mood and brain function, and can aid significantly in dealing with anxiety and depression.
A 2011 study from Ohio State showed a 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical school students who took omega-3 supplements. The researchers made this surprising discovery during research to test their theory that omega-3's would lower stress-induced levels of cytokines, compounds that promote inflammation in the body, which can lead to illness and heart attack.
Oily fish also contains a host of vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, zinc, and magnesium that help reduce sugar-addiction cycles and counteract the damaging effects of stress on the body.
3. Oh, Yes - Chocolate
Not that the other foods aren't good (and good for you), but seriously, who can resist a little chocolate?
Few of us can, but that's all right because a little chocolate goes a long way towards reducing our stress levels. Too much indulgence is likely to keep you from your weight-loss goals, but a small portion of chocolate as a pick-me-up isn't such a bad idea. This sweet treat helps to boost serotonin levels, which plays a key role in dealing with stress. In a study conducted by Duke Medical Center, researchers found that lower levels of serotonin actually cause a more extreme reaction when the body encounters stress.
How much is just enough?
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.
4. From Chocolate To... Spinach
Well, Popeye knew a little something about nutrition after all.
Spinach and other dark leafy greens like Swiss chard and kale are loaded with magnesium, which has been credited as a major stress fighter, helping to relax muscle fibers and put you at ease.
There's no such thing as a chill pill, but some foods contain body-boosting nutrients that help soothe stressed-out nerves, noting that green leafy foods contain folic acid, which helps make dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.
5. Oranges - For Sunshine In Your Life
Oranges, along with Brussels sprouts, broccoli, red and green peppers and strawberries contain lots of vitamin C, which boosts your immune system and fights brain-cell damage resulting from constant exposure to cortisol.
Stress makes our body release even more free radicals than when we are in a 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.
What Other Ways Do You Relieve Stress Naturally?