Due to hectic lifestyles, many people experience stress. It is a known fact that too much stress can cause adverse effects on your body, mood and behavior.
It can even lead to both short- and long-term physical problems, such as impaired memory, impaired learning ability, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and a poorly functioning immune system.
The best way to fight stress is it to identify the cause and try to resolve it. Keeping a positive approach and improving your diet and lifestyle will also help manage stress.
Thus, regular exercise, massage and yoga can help reduce stress levels. There are also certain foods that can help combat stress. Some even provide quick relief for times when you need an immediate calming effect.
Here are the top 10 superfoods to fight stress.
1. Green Tea
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavonoids and catechins. All these antioxidants have a calming effect on the mind and body that can be a great help in creating a positive mood. Plus, it contains an amino acid called theanine that promotes relaxation and improves focus and attention.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who drank at least five cups of green tea per day enjoy better health and mood compared to those who drank less than one cup per day.
When you are under stress, take some time to enjoy a cup of green tea. Five cups per day, however, may not be suitable for some. So, you may want to drink two to three cups of green tea every day.
If you do not like green tea, you can opt for black tea. The positive impact of green tea will be greatest in people who do not drink alcohol or smoke.
Blueberries contain plenty of antioxidants that help reduce stress levels. Blueberries also contain vitamins C and E along with minerals like magnesium and manganese, which are helpful in reducing stress.
Eating blueberries regularly can also help deal with depression, insomnia and other mood disorders that can be triggered by or contribute to stress.
You can have blueberries as a fruit snack or add them to cottage cheese or a fruit salad. Along with blueberries, cranberries can also help reduce stress.
Oranges are high in vitamin C that helps boost your immunity and is also an antioxidant, which fights free radicals. Stress tends to increase free radical load on the body. Oranges also have significant amounts of vtiamins A and B as well as a variety of healthy minerals.
To enjoy the benefits of the nutrients present in oranges, simply drink a glass of fresh orange juice daily. You can also include oranges in desserts and various baked goods. Along with oranges, also eat other citrus fruits.
Those who regularly drink milk feel less stressed. One glass of skim milk provides your body with a good amount of antioxidants along with vitamins A and D, calcium and protein. All these nutrients will help you calm down and help fight free radicals that are released in the body when you feel stressed.
The best stress-busting breakfast is a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk. Also, drink a glass of warm milk before going to bed to sleep better. If you do not like milk, you can eat milk products, such as cottage cheese and yogurt.
Many nuts, especially almonds, are high in vitamins B and E, magnesium, zinc, selenium, and healthy oils that provide stress-busting benefits. Moreover, they are crunchy and hence help diffuse tension.
You can eat almonds raw or roasted as a healthy snack. Also, you can include almonds in desserts and baked goods. Along with almonds, you can eat walnuts and pistachios to lower your stress hormones, reduce blood pressure and boost your energy level.
6. Dark Chocolate
A clinical trial published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Proteome Research indicates that eating about an ounce and a half of dark chocolate daily can greatly reduce the level of stress hormones in the body. Dark chocolate contains magnesium, which is a mineral that helps fight stress, fatigue, depression and irritability.
The best part about dark chocolate is that most people like it. Whenever you feel stressed, savor some dark chocolate and it will soon boost your mood and reduce your stress level. If you like, you can also try a warm glass of chocolate milk or any kind of dessert that has dark chocolate in it.
Dark green vegetables like spinach are rich in A, B and C vitamins. Spinach also contains a good amount of minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus that help reduce stress hormones in the body and stabilize mood.
One cup of spinach daily can have relaxing, calming effects on the body. There are many easy ways to include spinach in your diet. You can add it to your omelet, wrap, sandwich or salad.
Salmon is a cold water fish that contains a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids with strong anti-inflammatory effects. Omega-3 fatty acids boost brain chemicals like serotonin that help maintain a happy feeling, and regulate stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. At the same time, omega-3 fatty acids help the brain function more efficiently.
Two or three servings of salmon per week is recommended. Along with salmon, you can eat other oily fish such as mackerel, tuna and sardines. If necessary, you can take a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement after consulting your doctor.
9. Brown Rice
Brown rice contains a good amount of B vitamins, which are extremely important for maintaining cells, tissues and organs. They work as natural mood stabilizers and also help in biochemical reactions involved in brain functioning, healthy red blood cells, immunity and cardiac functioning.
When the body gets an adequate amount of B vitamins, you’ll be better able to fight off stress and many associated mood disorders.
The next time you feel irritable or moody, eat brown rice products and you will feel better soon.
Avocados contain a good amount of minerals, protein, and vitamins C and E. They are also high in fiber, potassium and healthy fat. All these nutrients help regulate stress hormones by keeping your nerves and brain cells healthy.
Eating one-half or whole avocado daily can significantly lower your blood pressure level and reduce your stress hormone level. You can eat avocado plain or add it to your favorite fruit salad or smoothie. For best results, eat fresh avocado instead of the packaged versions.
To conclude, these stress-busting foods are packed with nutrients that can regulate stress hormones and help you enjoy a stress-free life.