print save

Keep Calm And Carry On

Most people turn to food when they feel stressed and overwhelmed with life. If you're not careful with your food choices, your health can suffer. You can particularly gain weight if you keep eating a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream, which are laden with fat and calories.

There is a reason why we like eating 'comfort food' when we are under stress. Eating these leads to the release of the feel-good brain chemical, serotonin, which gives us immediate but temporary relief from stress.

However, there are healthier food with natural stress-reducing powers, so before you reach for another bag of chips or chocolates, check out this list of food that can relax, calm, and destress you, the healthier way.



Avocados
Avocado can stress-proof your body with its rich glutathione content. Glutathione is important for reducing oxidative stress and signs of aging. Avocados also contain folate, which is a B vitamin that helps fight stress.



Nuts
Nuts contain magnesium, which may help to reduce levels of the stress hormon, cortisol. Choose to eat walnuts which also contain alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and polyphenols, substances that may help prevent memory loss.



Oranges and strawberries
Oranges and strawberries are good sources of vitamin C, which is an antioxidant. This may help reduce physical and mental response to stress and may aid in lowering blood pressure. A German study showed that people who take vitamin C supplements achieve lower blood pressure and cortisol levels faster than those who don't take vitamin C.



Oatmeal
Carbohydrates kickstart the production of serotonin in the brain, thus boosting your mood and helping you relax. Complex carbs like oatmeal contains fiber which may slow down digestion, so serotonin is released at a steady pace. Eating oatmeal for breakfast may also help you stay calm all day.



Fatty Fish
Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which may help improve the collaborative brain function. This may aid you in dealing with stress more effectively. A study also showed that having enough omega-3s in the diet may prevent the cortisol levels from jumping during stressful situations.



Black Tea and Green Tea
Tea may contain some caffeine, but black tea and green tea have more to offer for relaxation. Green tea contains the amino acid theanine, which may help to reduce anxiety and promotes sleep. A study linked drinking black tea to reduced cortisol levels after drinking 4 cups a day for 6 weeks.



Dark chocolate
Eating dark chocolate (with 70% cocoa content) may lower levels of cortisol in the blood, according to a 2009 study. Dark chocolate also contains flavonoids, an antioxidant known for its relaxing properties and it's a food that naturally boosts your feel-good brain chemicals. So, you don't have to feel guilty every time you indulge in some dark chocolates.


Include the above simple food choices in your daily diet and you'll see the difference. You will feel calm and more relaxed even after facing stressful situations at home or at work. The next time you feel anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed, you can eat your way back to calmness by eating these better, healthier food options.


Sources:
6 Healthy Foods that Relax, Calm and De-stress, http://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/calm-foods
11 Healthy Ways to De-Stress with Food, http://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/11-healthy-ways-to-destress-with-food/
Food and Stress: 7 Healthy Picks That Can Help You Relax, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/healthy-food-fight-stress_n_2617644.html