It seems like people are more stressed than ever before. With work, family and personal activities, we are overbooked and constantly on the run, and stress is constant. Many people don’t realize that making smart food choices can help reduce stress, which will make the daily rat race a little more manageable. And did you know that the wrong foods will make stress worse? (Added sugar, man-made fats, fast carbohydrates, excess preservatives will increase stress in the body because they can increase cortisol levels, our stress hormones. Think of all the packaged processed foods found in the vending machines, and gas stations.) Here are five foods to focus on to help reduce stress:
Pumpkin seeds– These seeds are rich in magnesium, which can help calm the nervous system and relax the muscles. Magnesium can also help improve sleep—and good quality sleep is one of the best ways to reduce stress! Pack 1/4 cup portions for some nourishing on-the-go snacks.
Arugula – Arugula and other leafy greens are high in magnesium and potassium, which helps to remove cortisol, the stress hormone, from our bodies. Try our Arugula Chicken Salad if you want to eat a great-tasting meal that will help you reduce stress.
Whole oranges and grapefruit – Citrus fruit including limes, lemons, clementines, mandarin oranges, have a lot of vitamin C. Research shows that people who have high levels of vitamin C are better able to cope with stressful events. This Apple Grapefruit Greens Salad will give you a zip of essential vitamin-C.
Black beans– Beans and other foods high in potassium can help maintain normal blood pressure. Try our Sheet-Pan Eggs with Veggies & Black Beans to start your day with some critical potassium. Potassium is one of the most abundant and important minerals in the body, but it is quickly depleted during stressful times. Too little potassium leads to fatigue, muscle cramps, and an irregular heartbeat—symptoms which create additional stress for your body and mind.
Turkey – The turkey in our Turkey Bolognese recipe contains tryptophan, a calming amino acid that serves as the building block for serotonin—our natural feel-good brain chemical. In addition, lean protein is the best source of vitamin B12, which is very beneficial for our nervous system and moods.
To help make your days more stress free, make these foods and others like them a regular part of your life.