Nutrition is key when it comes to overall health. But did you know you can use certain foods to help beat stress? Certain nutrients are proven to help in the fight for a stress-free mind and body. In this article we’ll look at nine herbs, spices and food sources you should be eating as part of your daily stress management plan.
Including a handful of walnuts in your daily diet has been proven to help your body cope better in times of stress by lowering blood pressure. Considering it’s practically impossible to prevent stress totally it’s essential to give your body as much armour as possible to prevent stress harming your health. Walnuts also are also a good source of tryptophan, a precursor to the feel-good chemical serotonin, and the hormone melatonin which helps regulate sleep patterns.
As well as being rich in antioxidants, blueberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C which helps your body quickly get rid of the stress hormone cortisol. Vitamin C also fights stress by keeping blood pressure regulated whenever a stressful situation occurs. Add to yoghurt, porridge or have on their own as a super sweet mid-morning snack.
As well as tasting delicious, Avocados are truly a nutritional powerhouse containing healthy fat and 20 different vitamins and minerals. Sometimes referred to as Nature’s Butter, or Alligator Pear, avocados are rich in stress-busting B vitamins and potassium, which can help stabilize the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Include in salads, add to smoothies for a creamy texture, or spread on whole-grain toast and top with a poached egg.
Turmeric is the golden yellow spice often found in Indian cooking. It has recently been hailed as a new superfood thanks to its all-round health benefits. According to Dr. Lopesti of Murdoch University in Australia, not only is it antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, turmeric elevates neurotransmitters like serotonin, while at the same time reducing stress hormones such as cortisol. Add it to smoothies, milk and stews.
Salmon is a rich source of Omega 3 fat which is heart-healthy as well as stress-busting thanks to the docosahexaenoic acid that helps to mitigate stress hormones. Omega 3 can also help reduce inflammation in the body caused by chronic stress, as well as assist with healthy blood flow in the brain and body.
As well as being a high-quality lean protein, Turkey is well known for making you feel sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner thanks to its high level of tryptophan. But new research shows that tryptophan could also have calming effects, helping to relieve stress, as well as helping you sleep better at night.
Black tea and green tea are chock full of polyphenols, a type anti-oxidant, so both are beneficial to your overall health. However, green tea contains slightly more the amino acid theanine which helps to relax you without affecting your mental focus. Research has shown that drinking tea lowers the levels of cortisol in your body, helping you destress more quickly.
Kale (aka Arugula)
Dark green leafy vegetables like kale are rich in Vitamin C, a known stress buster which helps regulate cortisol levels. Kale also contains beneficial antioxidants that research shows are needed to help your brain function at an optimal level to help guard against stress. Try adding kale to smoothies or gently roast the leaves for a crunchy snack.
You may be used to seeing coriander as a garnish on foods, but think about eating more of this powerful herb to help alleviate stress and soothe your nerves. Hydroalcoholic acid present in the herb not only has a calming effect but if you’re having trouble sleeping because of stress, eating more coriander can help.