Foods to Add to Your Diet to Reduce Stress and Boost Energy
Daily chronic stress can be debilitating. You have a massive to do list, a demanding job and a household to manage. You feel pressure, tension, achy and endlessly tired. All you want to do is bury yourself under your bed covers and hide but you know that is not a possibility.
Don’t stress about stress! One of the things you can do to help alleviate the weight of stress is plan meals and snacks with foods that help boost energy and relieve tension.
Here are some of the foods you can add to your daily/weekly routine:
- Oatmeal Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but it’s really the simple sugars that should be avoided. Carbs are brain food and can help the brain make serotonin, one of the happy neurotransmitters. Hearty complex carbs like oatmeal is also a great alternative to blood pressure spiking choices like doughnuts or Pop-Tarts.
- Yogurt Yogurt is a probiotic combatting the unhealthy gut bacteria that contributes to high stress levels. Bad gut bacteria disrupts digestion which leads to poor communication between the brain and the central part of the body. Yogurt helps keep things running smoothly.
- Salad Instead of pulling through a drive-thru for greasy, fatty, fast food plan ahead and toss a salad with dark leafy greens such as spinach and get a healthy dose of folate. Folate helps the brain produce dopamine which is known as a pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter.
- Avocado Add avocado to your salad or grab two slices of whole grain bread and make a sandwich. Avocados are rich in glutathione, a substance that blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage. They also contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and more folate.
- Grass-Fed Beef Meat from pasture-raised animals is not only better for the planet it is also exponentially better for human health. Grass-fed cows are void of added hormones and antibiotics and they are especially rich in vitamins C and D, beta-carotene and Omega-3s. All of the latter reduces inflammation which is a known cause of a plethora of degenerative diseases and also chronic stress.
- Salmon Salmon is another excellent source of the heart healthy Omega-3 fats. Another benefit of these essential fatty acids is they help boost the production of serotonin.
- Berries Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, etc. are all chock full of antioxidants and phytonutrients. These nutrients help the body defend against stress related free radicals and strengthen the immune system.
- Cashews These creamy nuts have a stellar amount of the vitamin zinc. Zinc is known to reduce anxiety by enhancing the levels of a nerve chemicals that influences mood. Also, more than 300 enzymes use zinc as a catalyst in brain to organ communication.
- Dark Chocolate Indulge your chocolate craving with a small portion and choosing a piece that is at least 70% pure cocoa. Dark chocolate is known to lower cortisol. It can also relax the walls of blood vessels allowing better circulation and lowering blood pressure.
We give our bodies healthy nutritious foods and it rewards us by calming our nerves, reducing inflammation and keeping communication pathways open. When the body has to work harder to function the way it should, physical symptoms such as pressure and tension begin to occur. We may not be able to ask our boss to give us less work or ignore our never ending to-do list, but we can control what we decide to eat.