Stress is a part of life. You'll inevitably feel stressed at some point, whether from work pressures, family issues, or something else entirely.
If you're constantly feeling stressed, it can be hard to get through your day without feeling exhausted, drained, and worn out—it could very well result from poor eating habits and poor stress management techniques.
There are several ways to relieve stress, and one of the simplest is eating healthy. Nutrition plays a vital role in regulating your mood and keeping your body healthy. A stress management diet, which includes nutritious foods to help fight stress, is essential to good mental and physical health, and it can also help you focus on the task at hand.
The following nutrition tips will prove helpful to reduce stress levels while performing under pressure.
Sweet Potatoes: The Stress-Fighting Carbohydrates that Keep You Happy and Healthy
Sweet potatoes are a natural and healthy way to help reduce stress. They contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B6 and C, iron, and magnesium that help you feel less stressed. Nutrients in sweet potatoes support the body's ability to cope with chronic stress.
One hundred grams of sweet potatoes contain 10% of your daily requirement for vitamin B6, which helps build antibodies and maintain brain function.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin C, which can help your body deal with the effects of chronic stress. Antioxidants like vitamin C have been shown to reduce inflammation, a major cause of fatigue and other stress-related symptoms.
Sweet potatoes are good sources of magnesium, a mineral that can help you relax by lowering blood pressure and reducing anxiety. They're also high in fibre, which improves digestion, prevents constipation, and promotes regular bowel movement.
Herbal Tea: A Food to Help You Feel Relaxed and Calm
Herbal teas are made from plants and contain flavonoids that may help to reduce stress by providing many therapeutic benefits to the body. Studies have shown that these compounds improve mood, sleep quality, and blood pressure levels.
Herbal teas are made from plants like chamomile, mint, hibiscus, etc, with natural calming properties. They're packed with antioxidants that help fight free radicals that can cause inflammation and chronic stress.
Studies have shown that drinking lavender herbal teas can help relieve symptoms of chronic stress, such as fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Herbal teas are made from plants and herbs that have been used for centuries to treat various ailments. They can help reduce anxiety, increase energy levels, fight inflammation, are beneficial for stress management, and boost the immune system.
If you want to reduce your chronic stress levels, try drinking herbal tea before bedtime or during the day at work when you feel overwhelmed.
Kimchi: A Fermented, Stress-Relieving Probiotic Delight
Kimchi is a traditional Korean fermented food made from vegetables such as cabbage and radishes. The dish has been around for thousands of years, but in recent times, it's become more popular as people worldwide discover its health benefits.
Kimchi helps relieve stress mainly because it contains probiotics such as lactic acid bacteria (LAB), which are known for producing endorphins, “feel-good” brain chemicals that act as natural pain and stress relievers.
Kimchi is a great way to reduce stress because it contains vitamins, minerals, and fibre, all essential for your body to function at its best. In addition, kimchi contains glucosinolates, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
When you're under chronic stress, your body produces excess cortisol, which can lead to inflammation in your body. A study suggests that changing to a diet high in probiotics and fermented foods like kimchi can lower a person's perceived stress levels, improve sleep quality, and naturally boost the immune system.
Dark Chocolate: A Sweet Way to Beat Stress
Dark chocolate is more than just a tasty treat - it is a rich source of antioxidants and flavonoids that can help reduce stress.
The flavonoids in dark chocolate can reduce symptoms of anxiety and enhance mood.
Chocolate also contains magnesium and cocoa flavanols, which have been shown to positively affect mood, memory function, and blood pressure control.
Dark chocolate also contains caffeine and phenylethylamine (PEA), both acting as stimulants that boost alertness and energy levels.
Eggs: The Protein-Packed Way to Fight Stress
Eggs are a good source of protein and vitamins B2, B12, A, and D. They also contain essential nutrients like folate, biotin, selenium, etc, all crucial for your body's normal functioning.
Eggs can help reduce stress because they are an excellent source of choline, which helps reduce cortisol levels by inducing the production of phosphatidylcholine.
Cortisol can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, so it's important to keep your levels under control.
Eggs are also an excellent source of tryptophan, which our bodies use to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, promotes relaxation, and helps in stress management.
Avocado: Stress-Busting, Nutrient-Packed Goodness
Avocado is a delicious, healthy fruit that can help relieve stress.
Recent studies have shown that people who ate avocados had lower cholesterol.
Avocados are also high in magnesium, an essential mineral that helps regulate blood pressure, and potassium, which helps maintain fluid balance in cells throughout the body and keeps blood pressure low. They also contain monounsaturated fats (like oleic acid.)
A European Journal of Nutrients study showed that avocado reduces inflammation (a key marker for stress) in the body, which can help support the immune system and reduce symptoms associated with chronic stress.
Eating avocado has been shown to contain dietary neurotransmitters of dopamine, a chemical that makes us feel happy and aids in stress management. This can help you feel better, more relaxed, and less stressed out.
Warm Milk: A Soothing Way to Relax and Unwind
Milk is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system. It can help you sleep, relieve stress and anxiety, give you warm feelings, and improve mood, making it great for stress management.
Tryptophan and melatonin are compounds found in milk that may help you fall asleep. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in various foods and a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Melatonin is released into your body during sleep, where it helps regulate the circadian rhythm.
Drinking warm milk before bed may help lower cortisol levels associated with chronic stress. This means the body isn't producing as much stress hormone at night, so your sleep will be deeper and more restful in the morning.
Citrus Fruits and Strawberries: The Vitamin C-Rich Antidote to Stress
Citrus fruits and strawberries are natural stress relief options. They are packed with vitamin C, essential for maintaining a healthy immune system and reducing inflammation.
They also contain antioxidants that can help protect against free radicals produced by cells during normal metabolism, but that can cause damage to other cells or tissues. Free radicals can damage cells and tissues, so reducing their effect on your body is important for healthy skin, hair, and nails.
A double-blind, randomised trial found that students who took 500 mg of vitamin C daily experienced reduced anxiety and chronic stress levels compared to those who took a placebo.
Fruits are also high in fibre, which helps keep your digestive system working properly so toxins don't build up in your body over time.
Stress-Busting Broccoli: A Nutrient-Packed Way to Feel Better
Broccoli is one of the most nutritiously dense vegetables, so our list of nutrition tips to reduce stress would not be complete without broccoli. Broccoli contains many ingredients that help reduce stress, including vitamin C, folic acid, fibre, and B vitamins, etc.
These nutrients are critical for healthy brain activity and nervous system function. They can help protect against chronic stress by promoting a healthy response to daily emotions and reactions to stressful situations.
Broccoli is also rich in antioxidants that neutralise the body's free radicals.
Additionally, Broccoli contains Sulforaphane, a neuroprotective compound that protects the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation. This can result in less anxiety, depression, and brain fog.
Eating broccoli regularly can help in stress management and keep your body functioning at its best so you can stay calm and focused throughout the day!
Fish: A Great Way to Boost Mood and Heart Health
Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation and promote mental health. Fish also provides vitamins B12 and D, essential for keeping your mood stable and helping you relieve stress.
The most common fish sources are tuna, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and herring. Eating fish twice weekly to get your recommended daily amount of omega-3s or taking supplements like Steadfast Nutrition’s vitamin D3 would be best.
Chronic stress can lead to several health issues, such as depression and anxiety disorders. If your stress levels are constantly on high alert, it may be time to start incorporating more healthy foods into your diet to help alleviate stress.
Stress is inevitable, but that does not mean it has to ruin your day-to-day life.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to eat a balanced diet and exercise daily. Consuming foods high in vitamins and minerals can help you feel better and less stressed out.
But remember, it is also important to note that no one-size-fits-all approach to managing stress exists. Everyone has their own unique triggers, and what works for one person may not work for another, and nutrition is only one piece of the puzzle regarding stress management.