When you’re feeling tight, various techniques can manage and even lessen your stress levels. Food may be a powerful ally or a powerful foe. So, when you’re feeling stressed, pay close attention to what you’re putting into your body. Even if you don’t feel worried, specific vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, selenium, and magnesium, may be required in more significant quantities.
1. Brazil Nuts
Selenium levels are high in Brazil nuts. SeleniumTrusted Source might enhance mood by lowering inflammation, commonly elevated when someone has a good condition such as anxiety. Antioxidant properties of selenium aid in the prevention of cellular damage. Other foods rich in selenium include mushrooms, soybeans, nuts, meats, and vegetables. Vitamin E, an antioxidant, is also found in Brazil nuts and other nuts. Low amounts of vitamin E may exacerbate anxiety in children, which has been linked to low levels of antioxidants in some studies.
2. Dark Chocolate
Including dark chocolate in the diet can help alleviate stress in two ways: chemically and emotionally. Meyerowitz believes that simply savoring a piece of chocolate might help alleviate tension since it seems so indulgent. According to a study that monitored participants who consumed 1.5 ounces (oz) of dark chocolate daily for two weeks, it may also help reduce stress by lowering levels of stress chemicals in the body. She adds that it’s also crucial to buy dark chocolate of the highest quality. This concept, known as “bean to bar,” emphasizes using high-quality ingredients and in-house control over every step of the chocolate-making process.
3. Herbal Tea
Stress-relieving properties of food and drink can sometimes be attributed to their flavor or aroma rather than their actual nutritional content. One technique to help oneself relax is having a warm tea cup. Lavender and chamomile have been proved to have a relaxing impact on their own, but green tea is excellent if you need a little caffeine boost because it’s full of flavonoids, which studies show enhance brain function. Neuroprotection, neuroinflammation suppression, and improved memory, learning, and cognitive function are all possible benefits of their use.
Beets’ folate concentration, a nutrient that may help with stress relief, is something Dwight Schrute would be delighted to learn about. Folate deficiency has been linked to memory loss, disorientation, and sleeplessness because of its connection to the nervous system. Drugs such as cholesterol-lowering, anti-inflammatories, diabetic medications, and birth control pills can diminish the body’s supply of folate.
Healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids can be found in avocados, whether they’re mashed into guacamole or sliced and sprinkled over salads. It’s well-known that essential acids like these can help alleviate stress and anxiety, increase focus, and raise the mood. Avocados may have more than omega-3 fatty acids to offer. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, there are additional vital minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber. As a reminder, the survey merely found a connection between consuming avocados and improved health markers, not a cause-and-effect link.
Often referred to as nature’s multivitamin, eggs have a wide range of nutrients. Full-sized eggs include all the nutrients necessary for a healthy stress response, including vitamins and minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Choline, a vitamin in only a few foods, is abundant in whole eggs. Evidence suggests that the brain nutrient choline may protect against stress.
To counteract free radicals and oxidative stress, parsley is rich in antioxidants, making it a healthy addition to any diet. Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety are linked to oxidative stress. Antioxidant-rich diets may help alleviate stress and anxiety, according to research. Carotenoids, flavonoids, and volatile oils found in parsley are potent antioxidants.
Because of its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, and relaxing characteristics, chamomile tea is widely used as a herbal treatment around the world. Flavonoids in chamomile, according to some, are responsible for the herb’s sedative and anxiety-reducing effects. Chamomile extract, taken as a 500-mg pill three times daily, was proven to lessen anxiety symptoms in one study trusted Source. However, further instances of worry were not prevented. Anxiety sufferers may find that chamomile tea helps them relax. When used in high amounts, it’s readily available and completely safe.
There are numerous health benefits to eating foods like broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables may reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and mental health issues, including depression if you follow a diet high in these veggies. Sulforaphane, a sulfur molecule found in broccoli, has neuroprotective and relaxing characteristics and may also have antidepressant properties.
Stress-fighting vitamins and minerals found in chickpeas include magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, manganese, copper, and potassium. L-tryptophan, which your body requires to manufacture mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, can be found in these legumes, which are delicious and nutritious. In studies, chickpeas, which are high in plant protein, have been linked to improved brain health and cognitive function.
If you’re already a carbohydrate fiend, you’re inclined to reach for a doughnut whenever you feel overwhelmed. According to research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, some antidepressants influence serotonin in the same way as carbohydrates do. Opt for complex carbs instead of the sugary bear claw. Mangieri claims that stress can raise your blood sugar levels, which in turn can lead to weight gain “oatmeal is a complex carb so it won’t raise your blood sugar levels more.
Your gut microbes may contribute to stress, even if it sounds strange. According to research, stress can exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms because brain and gut chemicals connect.
Indian and Southeast Asian cuisines both use turmeric as a spice. Anxiety may be reduced by lowering inflammation and oxidative stress, which are commonly increased in patients with mood disorders such as anxiety and depression. Taking 1 g of curcumin per day lowered anxiety in obese people, according to a 2015 study. If you’re interested in taking high-dose curcumin supplements, you should talk to your doctor first. Incorporating turmeric into recipes is simple. Smoothies, curries, and casseroles all benefit from its mild flavor.
Drinking warm milk before bed is a tried-and-true home treatment for a better night’s sleep that has been around for ages. Warm milk has a calming impact on both the body and the mind. For bone health, calcium-rich foods are a crucial part of a balanced diet, but this nutrient may also help alleviate depression. One study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology in January 2017 indicated that calcium-fortified dairy products, such as milk, helped relieve premenstrual syndrome symptoms by relaxing muscles and stabilizing mood.
A good supply of magnesium is flaxseed, pumpkin seed, and sunflower seed (leafy greens, yogurt, nuts, and fish). Increasing your intake of this mineral may aid with emotional regulation. “Depression, weariness, and irritability have all been proven to be improved by magnesium supplementation. PMS symptoms like cramping and water retention might be alleviated with the mineral, especially if you’re very irritated at that time of the month.”
As aphrodisiacs go, oysters’ zinc content is another reason to adore this slimy delicacy. A serving of six raw oysters has 32 mg of zinc, which is 400% of the required daily intake. Gans believes that zinc can help reduce the body’s response to stress. Zinc, in particular, has been shown to have antioxidant effects that may improve the immune system, reduce inflammation, and lessen the body’s reaction to stress and anxiety.
Sulfur molecules found in garlic help glutathione levels rise. Your body’s first line of defense against stress is this antioxidant (40Trusted Source). Garlic has also been shown in animal experiments to help combat stress and lessen anxiety and depression symptoms. Still, there is a need for more human study.
Several health advantages, including an enhanced mood, are linked to blueberries. Because of their high flavonoid content and associated anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties, these berries should be consumed in moderation. Inflammation caused by stress may be reduced, and these substances may protect against cellular damage caused by stress.
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, which is known to help alleviate tension and anxiety. For example, stress can impair the immune system, leading to an increase in cortisol, which can negatively impact the body. “As well as supporting immunological function, which can become weaker as a result of stress,” says Sass. Long-term elevations in cortisol have been linked to weariness, mental fog, overeating, and weight gain, particularly around the abdomen.
20. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish high in omega-3 fats and vitamin D, such as mackerel, herring, salmon, and sardines, have been demonstrated to help reduce stress and enhance mood. Not only are omega-3 fatty acids necessary for a healthy brain and mood, but they may also be able to help your body cope with stress. Western cultures are more likely to suffer from anxiety and sadness if they don’t get enough omega-3 fats. Mental well-being and stress management are other critical functions of vitamin D. Anxiety and depression are more common in people with low serotonin levels.