We live in a stress fueled world. We all have deadlines, responsibilities and numerous directions we are pulled in constantly.
Stress is listed as a precipitating factor for so many chronic disease conditions so it makes sense that minimising those feelings and their impacts on our bodies should be a priority. Meditation, mindfullness, yoga, gentle exercise, having a chat, practicing gratitude are all great coping tools. But did you know that the active constituents of certain foods can also have a calming effect on your body?
Well they can. So the next time you feel that tension rising, take a break, hopefully engage in one of the above stress reduction techniques and tuck into a snack of some of the following:
10 Stress-Busting Foods
1. BERRIES - high in antioxidants and Vitamin C.
During times of stress our body utilises more Vitamin C than usual leading to lowered immunity. Vitamin C has also been shown to assist with lowering blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Grab a punnet of fresh berries and dig in or keep frozen packets of berries in the freezer (oob are a great brand) and grab a little bowl full, add some mungalli greek yoghurt and some shredded mint for a GAPS friendly delicious stress busting treat.
2. DARK CHOCOLATE - containuing polyphenols and flavonols (healthy antioxidants) which are proven mood enhancer.
Science says so, who am i to argue! Make it organic and 80%+ and its practically a health food. Just have a couple of squares and dont make it too late or you may wind up over stimulated and unable to sleep.
3. FERMENTED FOODS - for example; natural yogurt, kumbucha & sauerkraut.
We now know that 80-90% of serotonin (our feel good hormone) is manufactured in the gut. Without good bacteria and a balanced diet your serotonin making days are numbered.
4. ROLLED OATS - serotonin support
The remainder of our serotonin is produced by the brain and rolled oats, being a complex carbohydrate, supports our brain to do just that.
If you are not on a grain free diet, source organic unhulled rolled outs and enjoy in bircher museli.
5. WILD SALMON - excellent source of Omega-3s
Studies have revealed that omega-3s can reduce stress and anxiety by more that 20%. Make sure you buy wildcaught rather than farmed salmon. This is generally in the frozen section of health food stores.
6. GREEN TEAS- contains a host of antioxidants and the amino acid L-theanine.
L-theanine is a powerful mood enhancer and green tea is an all round brain booster.
7. CASHEWS - great source of zinc and taste delicious.
Low levels of zinc have been associated with both anxiety and depression.
8. AVOCADO - packed with stress-relieving B vitamins.
B Vitamins are needed for healthy nerve and brain cells and deficiency can result in feelings of anxiety.
9. TURMERIC- a powerhouse
The active ingredient of turmeric is called curcumin - adding to its already impressive line-up of benefits antioxidant, antiinflammatory and liver support - it also lowers cortisol levels.
Add some turmeric to your curry, add to tahini, olive oil and lemon juice for a yummy salad dressing... or try a turmeric latte
10. LEAFY GREENS - rich in folate (B9)
Folate is important in the production of mood regulation neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
Try to add leafy greens as a salad or lightly sauteed to every meal.