If you’re struggling with stress, you may be searching for some relief. Did you know that by simply eating certain foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals, you can help support your body’s stress response and alleviate symptoms of anxiety?
Stress is a normal and natural response to external or internal pressure. When we’re feeling that pressure, our bodies release cortisol and adrenaline, hormones that help prepare us for the fight-or-flight response. And although the stress response is an essential part of human survival, chronic stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health. It can also lead to anxiety, depression, and a host of other health problems.
To combat stress in a natural way and keep your body balanced and healthy, try some of these 16 stress relieving foods.
16 Stress Relieving Foods
Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids, which help to reduce stress and anxiety. These essential compounds promote the production of endorphins, also called the feel-good hormones, which can reduce inflammation in the body. Dark chocolate also contains magnesium, a mineral that can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, it is important to consume dark chocolate in moderation as it is high in calories.
Fatty fish – Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain function and can also improve mood and cognitive performance. These fatty acids also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
Artichokes – Eating artichokes gives your body magnesium, potassium, and vitamins K and C, which help to maintain a healthy stress response. They contain high levels of fiber that are rich in prebiotics, feeding the friendly bacteria in your gut.
Blueberries – Blueberries are packed with antioxidants that can protect the body from oxidative stress caused by chronic inflammation. They contain high levels of Vitamin C, which can help to reduce cortisol levels, improving your overall mood. Blueberries are also low in calories and can improve cognitive function and memory.
Green tea – Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which can promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety. L-theanine can also increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that can improve mood and cognitive performance. Green tea also contains antioxidants that can protect the body from chronic diseases.
Leafy greens – Leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in magnesium, a mineral that can alleviate depression and anxiety. They contain high levels of Vitamin C, which can help to reduce cortisol levels, and are also a great source of fiber, which can improve gut health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
Whole grains – Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and oats are rich in complex carbohydrates, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness. They contain B vitamins, which are essential for brain function and can improve mood and cognitive performance. Whole grains are also a great source of fiber, which can help with digestion.
Parsley – Parsley has powerful antioxidant properties, with high levels of flavonoids, carotenoids, and volatile oils. Those antioxidants also help to neutralize free radicals and protect your body against oxidative stress. By reducing oxidative stress, you reduce your risk of developing mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, and pumpkin seeds are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and fiber. They also contain magnesium, which can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. Nuts and seeds are also high in antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and reduce your chances of developing chronic diseases.
Organ meats – Organ meats of animals, like the liver, heart, and kidneys, contain B vitamins such as B6, B12, folate, and riboflavin that your body needs to control stress levels. They also help produce serotonin and dopamine which help to regulate your mood.
Matcha powder – Known for its vibrant, green color, matcha tea powder contains high levels of the amino acid L-theanine which is a powerful stress reliever. The antioxidants it contains can help both heart and brain health and function. Some studies have shown that matcha powder helps reduce body weight and maintain weight loss.
Fermented foods – Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and kefir are rich in probiotics, which can improve gut health and reduce stress levels. Probiotics can also reduce inflammation in the body, which can in turn reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Fermented foods are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin K and potassium.
Eggs – Whole eggs contain essential vitamins and minerals along with antioxidants and amino acids, which your body needs to maintain a healthy stress response. Eggs contain high levels of choline, a nutrient that can help with stress and keeps your brain healthy.
Avocado – Avocado contains healthy fats, fiber, and vitamins, including Vitamin C and B vitamins. It also contains potassium, which can help to regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Avocado contains L-theanine, the amino acid found in green tea, which can reduce stress levels and help you feel less anxious.
Sweet potato – Sweet potatoes are high in a variety of nutrients such as Vitamin C and potassium and are rich in carbohydrates. Nutrient-dense carbohydrates have been shown to lower cortisol levels, relieving feelings of stress and anxiety.
Turkey – Turkey is a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, and appetite. Tryptophan can also help you relax and alleviate symptoms of stress. Turkey also contains high levels of protein, which can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness.
By focusing on what you eat, you can start to feel less anxious and maintain a healthier and more balanced diet. Our list of 16 stress relieving foods can help!