Eat Your Stress Goodbye - Stress Reducing Diet

When you’re stressed out, the foods that you’re turning to are most likely going to
be traditional ‘comfort’ foods – think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods,
and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a
bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about
something. However, this isn’t a good permanent solution.
When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the
long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you
can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to
concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress.

Foods that Fight Stress
If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know
which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating
stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to
fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount
of each of the different food groups.

Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the
basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum
amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it
comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which
help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to
heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.
Some of the best stress-fighting foods include:

Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a
range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings
and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to
stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which
specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause
oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate,
and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting
properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as
it is high in fat.

Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks,
swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to
help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm.
Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially anthocyanin,
which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of
health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind
– all of which can help you to better deal with stress.

Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it
comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen
the stress you're feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and
caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your
stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a
natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which
determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of
generalized anxiety disorder.

Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which will help you
to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There
is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty
snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are
great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.

Pistachios – another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to
combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found
that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can
lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on
your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic,
repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!

Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of
anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of
nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your
body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example
spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps
your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as
serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your
diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.

Fermented foods – last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt (vegan of course)
can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve
your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which
are found in fermented foods such as yogurt actually have a direct effect on
your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating
signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.

As the saying goes, you are what you eat – so make
sure that first and foremost, you’re filling yourself up with foods which are good for
your mental health.

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