Stress is a common phenomenon in current times. When we are stressed out, many of us turn to unhealthy foods like fatty foods, sweets, big meals, etc. These foods give us temporary relief but are harmful in the long run because these foods lack nutrients and are loaded with unhealthy ingredients. When your body does not get the right nutrition, you start feeling lethargic, less energetic, and less focussed. This can lead to greater stress.
If are more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid. A great hack to fight stress is to have a healthy, well balanced diet, which includes foods from different food groups.
Consuming foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and proteins as regular diet ensures that your body gets the required amounts of nutrients to fight physical and mental health issues. Some foods have a range of great properties that help the body combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than provide a temporary fix.
Some of the best stress-fighting foods
1. Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables come with many benefits and should be part of regular diet. Along with helping combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants, which help fight infections and make you feel healthier and full of energy. Dark leafy greens such as spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate. Folate helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Adding leafy greens into your diet regularly will make you happier and less stressed out.
2. Walnuts – If you’re looking for a delicious and healthy snack that will help you stay in control of your stress, walnuts make a great choice. Walnuts are sweet and pleasant and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or can become a wonderful desert. Walnut is a versatile nut and is great for salads. Or you can add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
3. Pistachios – Another wonderful food that is excellent for snacking and in helping you handle stress and anxiety is pistachios. Studies have shown that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed. Along with this, the rhythmic and repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!
4. Healthy fats – Healthy fats like ghee, cold-pressed coconut oil act as stress-relieving foods. You can consume them with your salads, rice, chapati. Studies show that ghee brings several benefits like better digestion, healthy skin, enhanced immunity, healthier heart, etc.
5. Fermented foods – Eating fermented foods such as yogurt, idli, dosa, etc. can help in keeping your gut healthy and this, in turn, will improve your mental health and reduce stress. The beneficial bacteria found in fermented foods,such as idli, have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood signals to your brain. So, when you are stressed out, simple and soothing curd rice is beneficial.
6. Chamomile Tea – When it comes to stress, it’s just not about what you are eating. What you are drinking can also impact the stress you are feeling. Drinking liquids that are high in sugar and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, actually increase your stress levels when consumed regularly. So, choose a healthier alternative like Chamomile tea. This has long been used as a bedtime soother, and clinical trials determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of anxiety.
7. Oranges – Oranges are rich in vitamin C. Studies show that vitamin C reduces the levels of stress hormones in your body and strengthens your immune system. Oranges make an excellent option for mid-day snacks or evening snacks. Smelling the orange peels can also reduce the stress and bring in cheerfulness.
8. Avocado – This is a creamy and versatile fruit. These can be eaten in a range of different ways such as raw, sauces, dressings and dips, smoothies, etc. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content. Glutathione blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats, which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain good levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene, and folate. These nutrients help you to handle stress better. However, don’t eat too many avocados and be careful with portion control, as it is high in fat.
9. Blueberries – If you are feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, go for blueberries. Replacing chocolate or chips for blueberries is a great way to deal with your stress levels and calm down. Blueberries are a superfood and have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially anthocyanin. This means that this berry provides a wide range of health benefits along with sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind. These benefits help you to better deal with stress.
10. Sunflower seeds – Research shows that sunflower seeds contain tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that promotes the release of serotonin in the brain and induces feelings of calmness. Sunflower seeds also help in reducing anxiety. These seeds can be sprinkled over a salad or can be chewed directly.
These are the 10 foods that help you in fighting stress. When you are under stress, your body releases various hormones that are harmful to the body. When you eat the right foods, it helps in reducing the levels of these hormones in the body. So, make the right food choices and keep stress at bay.
Wish you health and peace!