Those foods we like to grab when we’re having a rough day can actually increase our stress levels. You should avoid too much coffee and other caffeinated drinks. They can cause anxiety and make it harder to concentrate. Salty snacks and sweet treats can be full of simple carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar, and then cause you to be tired and unmotivated when you come down from the sugar rush.
The good news is there are foods that can help you lower your stress levels. Here are 12 healthy foods that can alleviate tension and are good for you:
Turkey contains tryptophan, which is a feel-good amino acid that triggers the production of serotonin and melatonin. These chemicals have a calming effect and can help you feel more relaxed.
Oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and can help boost your immune system. The vitamin C also brings down your blood pressure after a stressful situation, helping relieve anxiety.
Nuts and seeds
Nuts are packed with Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids and can help reduce stress. Almonds have B and E vitamins, which are good for your immune system. Walnuts and pistachios help lower blood pressure. Sunflower seeds have that feel-good tryptophan.
Salmon has Omega 3 essential fatty acids and helps boost your serotonin levels. Salmon and other fish also help keep the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, at a steady level.
Avocados sometimes get a bad wrap because they are high in fat. But, it’s a good kind of fat. They also contain potassium, which helps decrease blood pressure and has a relaxing effect.
Spinach gives you magnesium – a mineral that helps you feel more calm. Magnesium can also prevent headaches and a feeling of fatigue. Spinach is also a good source of fiber and can boost your energy levels.
Oats have magnesium, which we know is calming, and potassium to help lower blood pressure. In addition, the complex carbohydrates in oatmeal can help you produce more serotonin.
Sweet potatoes and carrots
These orange, root vegetables can help you boost your serotonin levels with fiber and carbohydrates. They also have beta-carotene and other vitamins that are good for boosting immunity.
Green veggies, such as broccoli and kale, are great sources of vitamins. These nutrients can help replenish your body in times of stress.
Bananas are known for potassium which helps fight fatigue and are good for your blood sugar. Bananas are also a great source of carbs and can help produce serotonin. Choose a banana over other sugary or starchy options.
Brown rice and whole wheat choices are better for you than white rice or bread. Whole grains are full of B vitamins and serotonin, which help you relax without feeling fatigued.
If you’re hit with a chocolate craving, opt for a dark chocolate snack. Dark chocolate contains magnesium which helps alleviate tension. It also has theo bromine and can naturally elevate your mood. Just remember to indulge in moderation.
The next time you feel like hitting the vending machine or ordering french fries, consider one of the healthy options above. Not only can you help reduce your stress levels, you will also feel good about making a healthy food choice.