So many of us deal with feelings of stress and anxiety on a regular basis. While we can’t avoid all stress, we can lessen the duration and its effect on our body by making certain diet and lifestyle choices. Many people find relief through therapy and medications which is a good thing. But did you know food can also help fend off stress and anxiety?
Often we want to reach for those sugary comfort foods when we are going through a particularly trying time. A more self-loving choice would be reaching for nourishing Clean Eating foods instead that will provide our body and minds with the nutrients needed to deal with stress in an appropriate way. Using food as a remedy for stress is not only effective but also more affordable and comes without side-effects.
The next time you are feeling on edge, try reaching for one of these foods to calm your nerves instead. Eating these foods on a regular basis is an even better idea to reap the most benefits from these nourishing foods.
1. Holy Basil Tea
Acting as an adaptogen, holy basil tea can help your mind and body adapt to stress. It’s been shown to reduce sleep problems, anxiety, and exhaustion. Additionally, the ritual of sitting and drinking tea can be calming on our body.
2. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in L-theanine which is an amino acid that has been shown to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve concentration. Try replacing your afternoon coffee with green tea and enjoy its stress-soothing properties.
Choline, a cousin of the B-vitamins, is a brain supporting chemical. It’s used to make neurotransmitters that help us to focus and control our levels of anxiety. One egg will get you nearly 30 percent of your RDA for choline.
Try these Portabello Baked Eggs
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and albacore tuna are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s can help reduce anxiety and restlessness by supporting healthy hormone levels and brain function.
Make this Teriyaki Salmon Recipe on your next meal prep day
Almonds are an excellent source of Vitamin E. Recent research indicates that low levels of this vitamin can lead to depression in some people. Additionally, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant which can be beneficial in combatting anxiety.
Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and protein are all present in walnuts. All of these things work to support healthy brain function and reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress.
7. Dark Chocolate
At this point, most of us know that dark chocolate is a feel-good food and it’s not just because it tastes indulgent and delicious. It actually contains several different stress-reducing nutrients including magnesium. Magnesium combats stress by promoting relaxation in our body and mind.
You’ll Love these Double Dark Chocolate Brownies… (Clean Eating Approved!)
8. Leafy Greens
Antioxidants such as vitamin E and beta-carotene are abundant in leafy greens and these nutrients help support our mood. Leafy greens such as spinach, swiss chard, and kale are also some of the best sources of magnesium which is great for fending off anxiety and stress.
9. Fermented Foods
Low levels of serotonin have been linked to low mood, depression, and anxiety. It’s estimated that around 90 percent of our body’s serotonin is made in the gut which means having a healthy gut contributes to a healthy mind. Consuming fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, and yogurt provides us with healthy probiotics that not only support a healthy gut but also influences our stress response and state of mind.
Blueberries are an excellent source of both vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which can help regulate cortisol levels. Elevated levels of this stress hormone increase our feelings of anxiety so it’s best to keep cortisol in check.
12. Sweet Potatoes
Keeping our blood sugar levels in check helps to keep anxiety and stress at bay and to do this we need to consume adequate amounts of fiber. Sweet potatoes are a complex carb that is rich in fiber making them a great stress-soothing option.
This powerful herb has a lot going for it. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuroprotective properties all of which reduce inflammation in our body. Lower inflammation means our brain is better able to produce hormones and neurotransmitters that play a role in keeping our minds less prone to anxiety.
When we eat turkey we provide our body with tryptophan which is a very important precursor to both serotonin and melatonin. As we’ve mentioned, serotonin helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Melatonin helps regulate our sleep which is vital, as getting enough sleep is crucial in supporting a healthy state of mind.
This plant-based protein option can help us fight off stress and anxiety in a few ways. Beans are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and B-vitamins, all of which help calm our nerves. Certain varieties such as kidney beans also contain tryptophan which we just learned is very important for supporting proper brain function!