How Diet Can Help
Eating a balanced and healthy diet is key to helping our bodies to manage the physiological changes caused by stress. An important part of any stress response includes identifying and reducing the causes of stress. Adrenal function is significantly influenced by blood sugar levels, therefore much of the dietary advice below aims to stabilise levels of sugar in the blood.
Choose whole, natural foods and ensure a minimum of five portions of non-starchy vegetables per day and eat a rainbow!
More on fruit & veg intake…
Try not to skip meals. Ensure that you eat regularly, taking healthy snacks as necessary. Small, regular meals will help to maintain energy levels and mood, while decreasing tiredness and irritability.
More on energy…5 top tips to boost energy
Avoid highly refined foods such as white bread, pasta, chocolate, biscuits, sweets or foods with added sugars. Hidden sugars are also in many cereals, breads, tinned produce and processed or packaged foods. Replace processed foods with the unrefined foods such as brown bread, rice, oats and rye. Note that excess alcohol can also cause imbalanced blood sugar levels.
More on sugar…
Make These Foods A Part Of Your Anti
You might be surprised to learn that specific foods have been shown to reduce anxiety.
- In mice, diets low in magnesium were found to increase anxiety-related behaviors. Foods naturally rich in magnesium may, therefore, help a person to feel calmer. Examples include leafy greens, such as spinach and Swiss chard. Other include legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
- Foods rich in zinc such as oysters, cashews, liver, beef, and egg yolks have been linked to lowered anxiety.
- Other foods, including fatty fish like wild Alaskan salmon, contain omega-3 fatty acids. A study completed on medical students in 2011 was one of the first to show that omega-3s may help reduce anxiety. . Prior to the study, omega-3 fatty acids had been linked to improving depression only.
- A study in the journal Psychiatry Research suggested a link between probiotic foods and a lowering of social anxiety. Eating probiotic-rich foods such as pickles, sauerkraut, and kefir was linked with fewer symptoms.
- Asparagus, known widely to be a healthy vegetable. Based on research, the Chinese government approved the use of an asparagus extract as a natural functional food and beverage ingredient due to its anti-anxiety properties.
- Foods rich in B vitamins, such as avocado and almonds
- These “feel good” foods spur the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. They are a safe and easy first step in managing anxiety.
The 5 Best Foods That Reduce Stress And Anxiety
5 great foods that can help to reduce stress and anxiety, from avocados to blueberries and more.
Yes, you read the title correctly, food can help with stress and anxiety!
Eating the right foods isn’t going to be a replacement for therapy, but the nutritional properties of the food we eat can have an affect on our brain’s health, our mood and therefore our stress and anxiety levels.
Research continues to support this relationship. This may come as no surprise, as you often hear how coffee makes people feel more anxious. That’s because coffee acts as a stimulant, which can, in some cases, activate the fight or flight response and make us feel more anxious.
On the other hand, there are also foods that may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress. Avocado, for example, contains vitamin B6 which positively influences our mood. Other foods, such as blueberries and dark chocolate can also be helpful. I will walk us through a list of five foods that reduce stress and anxiety.
Learn to manage anxiety in only 5 minutes per day
Also Check: What Are Ways To Cope With Stress
Blueberries For A Sweet Snack
These tiny superfoods are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C great news for you, bad news for anxiety.
A 2014 research review showed that antioxidants improve brain health while helping out with depression and anxiety.
According to one small study, vitamin C and antioxidants are powerful tools for fighting the symptoms associated with anxiety and even for preventing it.
Try: adding blueberries to your morning smoothie, eating them as a snack paired with a small handful of nuts, or trying one of these healthy blueberry recipes.
The Best And Worst Foods Proven To Affect Stress Management
W hen stress strikes, the body releases the hormones cortisol, insulin, and ghrelin, which can ramp up hunger and cravings for unhealthy foods, notes Harvard Medical School. If the stressful event continues, those hormones remain elevated, increasing levels of another hormone called leptin, which helps your body recognize when its full. These hormonal changes can raise your risk for a condition called leptin resistance, which Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism shows is linked to obesity.
Fortunately, knowing which foods to fuel up on can help you get your stress levels under control. Next, learn about the research that suggests how.
Also Check: Why Am I Stress Eating
Dont Forget Green Tea
Since were on the topic of helpful teas, we cant forget green. Green tea , are known for the stress-relieving L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid.
Plus, the soothing ritual of making a warm latte cant hurt.
A Holiday Recipe For Stress Reduction
I promised a quick and delicious recipe using some of the foods I mentioned to help reduce stress. While there are many to choose from this one is perfect for getting your morning off to a great start and has probiotics, antioxidant-rich berries, and omega 3s. And for even greater stress relief can be made ahead of time so you can just grab it and go in the morning!
So, if you do nothing else for yourself this week, make this berry smoothie for breakfast and get your day off to a good start.
And dont forget to sign up for my email list for more helpful tips in the new year and be the first to hear about my new cooking classes!
Also Check: How To Reduce Stress Quickly
Foods That Help Reduce Anxiety Or Depression During The Lockdown
Foods that Help Reduce Anxiety: In the hectic day to day routine, we forget about our overall health and start to ignore self-well-being. Prioritize yourself and keep your mind and body in good shape just by practicing healthy food habits.
Apart from mediation, yoga, reading novels, listening to music a good diet also plays an important role to cope up with stress and a healthy lifestyle.
You may also like:
Nowadays, we are struggling with pandemic and lockdown . People are concerned about business, jobs, earnings, daily essentials, and the most important disease. The underlying issue is abruptly hampering the day to day life leading to more stress in people.
At this phase, you need to take proper care of the health of yourself as well as the family members.
Whether you are an entrepreneur, salaried, home-maker, or a student, follow these healthy diets and beat the day to day stress in the beautiful journey called Life.
Swiss Chard For Even More Magnesium
Ooh hey, chalk another one up for magnesium. Swiss chard is another leafy green packed with the mineral thats likely to help give you a dose of relaxation.
One study showed that low levels of magnesium were associated with anxiety and panic attacks. So, stocking up on those leafy greens cant hurt for a lot of reasons, chilling out included.
Cant tell one veg from the next? Heres a primer on how to spot the right leafy greens.
You May Like: Can Stress And Anxiety Cause Headaches
Focus On Complex And Fiber
While an excess of refined carbs and sugars may exacerbate feelings of depression, consuming complex and fiber-rich sources may help produce more mood-enhancing neurotransmitter, serotonin. Serotonin also plays a role in sleep onset, pain sensitivity, and blood pressure regulation. Emotional eating can be a slippery slope when it comes to stress management, so its crucial to focus on eating for nourishment instead of pleasure when feeling down. If you struggle with emotional eating, seeking appropriate psychological treatment may be warranted.
Best Foods For Anxiety #: Oatmeal
Oatmeal helps increase serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter that promotes happiness and relaxation.
I find warm oatmeal comforting to eat and I have it for breakfast pretty regularly.
Complex carbohydrates like oatmeal take longer for the body to process than refined carbohydrates .
This means you wont suffer the kind of crash that comes after a quick spike in sugar levels.
Oatmeal also contributes to heart health. This is especially important for anxiety sufferers because anxiety increases the risk of heart disease or coronary events.
One Harvard study even found that among men and women with heart disease, those withan anxiety disorder were twice as likely to have a heart attack as those withoutan anxiety disorder.
Other complex carbohydrates that boost serotonin and reduce anxiety are quinoa, whole grain bread and beans.
I always make my oatmeal with cinnamon& sometimes Ill top it with a little maple syrup .
Sweet & Simple Recipe #1: Cinnamon Oatmeal with Maple Syrup
-Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil
-Turn burner off
-Stir in 1/2 to 3/4 cup oats
-Stir in 1 -2 tsp. chia seeds and 1-2 tsp. cinnamon
-Cover pot & leave for 5 minutes
-Drizzle 1 tsp. maple syrup on top
*For maximum benefit, choose steel cut oats or old-fashioned oats instead of the instant variety and cook them on the stove-top instead of zapping them in the microwave.
Recommended Reading: Does Hair Fall Out From Stress
Foods That Reduce Stress: The Food/mood Connection
Let food be thy medicine.
Our brains require a constant supply of fuel. The foods we eat directly influence the structure and function of our brain, as well as our mood. When we eat high-quality, nourishing foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals, our brains function best. Alternatively, when we eat processed and refined foods, they promote inflammation, oxidative stress and mood disorders, such as anxiety.
Since our bodies produce about 95 percent of our serotonin in our gastrointestinal tract, the good bacteria in our gut highly influences our ability to produce it. Research shows that people who have higher levels of good bacteria in their guts experience lower anxiety and stress and have improved mental outlooks. By using food as our medicine, we can incorporate foods that reduce stress into our diet and get a handle on our stress and anxiety once and for all.
Quick tip: Learn about the beneficial role of hydration in anxiety and stress reduction in our free guide.
Get the guide: How to Rehydrate
In Need Of Stress Relief The Answer Might Be In Your Diet
Stress-relief doesn’t just come from exercise.
Not that these practices aren’t great ways to relieve and manage stress, but since they sort of “steal the spotlight,” if you will, diet is often overlooked as part of the stress-fighting picture.
“Eating a healthy diet can reduce the negative effects of stress on your body,” said Matthew J. Kuchan, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at Abbott. “A healthy diet builds a solid, more enduring foundation for your body by reducing oxidation and inflammation and by helping to reduce weight gain.”
Of course, and especially when we’re extra busy and, subsequently, more likely to be stressed, eating healthy is certainly not an easy habit to maintain. For many, prepping healthy meals doesn’t always fit into a busy schedule and dining out is the norm more often than not.
“This generally contributes to a less healthy diet,” Kuchan said. “We all know how easy it is to treat ourselves to that rich, high-fat meal we have been craving but would usually not fix for ourselves.”
How Exactly Do Healthy Foods Reduce Stress?
“Stress negatively affects blood pressure and blood flow,” Kuchan said. “There is a strong relationship between fluctuations in brain blood flow and brain health and these compounds over time.”
Nutrients from healthy foods, Kuchan explained, can help improve blood flow in the body.
Kuchan also mentioned that more recent studies are uncovering the stress-fighting effects of plant compounds.
Don’t Miss: What Anxiety And Stress Does To Your Body
Refined Grains And Refined Bread
All refined bread is an item I advise avoiding if you have anxiety. If you choose to buy bread, be sure to buy 100% whole grain or even better, sprouted grain bread, which isnt refined at all, nor does it contain flour of any kind. Also stick to varieties without preservatives, sugar, or unhealthy fats. Even breads that boasts health properties can be lying to you, so turn over the product and read the label. Stick with varieties that are 100% natural, dont contain high fructose corn syrup, enriched flours, hydrogenated fats, sugar, and that are overall less processed. Remember, unless it says 100% whole grain, it isnât, so be sure youâre smart about the label. By all means, avoid white bread, which is merely nothing more than sugars and starches that will send your blood sugar soaring, creating a crash later, which will leave you shaky, cranky and full of anxiety. An even better option is to only eat grains in their whole form, such as cooked oats, quinoa, and barley, which are the grain in its most natural form, free of any added ingredients. Root veggies are another great substitute for bread that will give your body the carbohydrates it desires without the blood sugar crash of white bread and other refined grains.
When To See A Doctor For Anxiety
If experiencing anxiety and stress, it is always best to seek out a specialist, such as a psychologist.
Sometimes, a doctor or psychologist may recommend talking therapy or CBT to manage anxiety and stress. They may also prescribe medications, such as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , or benzodiazepines.
People should follow the doctorâs instructions when using these drugs, as they can have severe and possibly life threatening adverse effects.
Don’t Miss: What Can Chronic Stress Do To Your Body
Try Minimizing These Snacks To Reduce Stress
Not eating consistently throughout the day, as well as eating foods that are lower in fiber and higher in added sugars, can negatively affect cortisol levels. If youre stressed out, work on minimizing the following :
- Processed foods and packaged snacks high in sugar
- Processed meats high in salt
Best Foods For Anxiety #: Nuts
Zinc is vital to neurotransmitter and hormone production, serotonin synthesis and maintaining a balanced mood.
These three nuts are great sources of zinc as well as other important vitamins and nutrients:
Almonds also contain B vitamins, which help us to be more resilient when experiencing stress and help us to maintain stable energy.
Cashews are rich in tryptophan, which improves uptake of serotonin in the brain and magnesium, a mineral that regulates the nervous system and helps us cope with stress.
Pistachios lower vascular constriction during stress. According to a Penn State study, they also lessen the bodys response to everyday stressors.
*Just be sure to get organic pistachios because this type of nut is at risk of contamination by aflatoxin .
to download this list of 50 Foods that Increase Stress/50 Foods that Reduce Stressand get instant, exclusive access to everything else in the Freebie Library + updates from the blog.
Dont Miss: How To Not Have Anxiety
You May Like: Which Vitamin Is Good For Stress
What Is Nutritional Therapy
Nutritional therapy maximizes our health potential by making nutritional and lifestyle changes based upon our individual needs. A scientifically-backed approach to adjusting our nutrition intake based upon our unique strengths and challenges, nutritional therapy is just one term nutritionists and dietitians use to describe a powerful, classic concept: how to let food be our medicine. For people who struggle with anxiety, incorporating foods that reduce stress can go a long way.
Fish Can Boost Your Heart Health While Fending Off Stress
Fight stress and help prevent heart disease by adding seafood to your plate. Fatty fish in particular are a great option because theyre heart-healthy, and their omega-3s may help ease depression because the nutrients easily interact with mood-related brain molecules, according to the Harvard Health Blog. Fatty fish include tuna, halibut, salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, and lake trout, according to the American Heart Association.
Not a fish fan? There are other whole-food options, like seaweed, chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts, and fortified food, such as certain brands of eggs, milk, soy milk, and nut milk. You can also try omega-3 supplements in the form of fish oil, which can be found at your local drugstore or grocery store. The Harvard Health Blog noted theyre tied to a lower risk for heart disease and stroke.
Figueroa says fish oil is fine if youre not eating a balanced diet that is rich in omega-3s and includes eating fish at least twice a week. But she cautions that its important to check with your doctor or registered dietitian before beginning a supplement routine, so you can figure out the best brand and dosage for your health goals.
You May Like: How Do You Know When Your Stressed Out
Lean On Friends And Family
The support provided by close personal relationships is really key, says Dr. Kiecolt-Glaser. The problem is that we tend to isolate ourselves and limit time with others when stressed and this response tends to compound stress. Computers in Human Behavior found that in-person support helped people cope better during times of stress and text messages didnt have the same effect. Being aware of the tendency to pull away from others when stressed is a good first step, but breaking the pattern can be difficult. Try telling those around you that you need their support. They may be able to spot your stress earlier than you do and jump in to help before you even know you need it.
Read Also: How To Cope With Relationship Anxiety