It seems like people are more stressed than ever before. With work, family and personal activities, we are overbooked and on the run. It seems like stress is a constant. Many people don’t realize that making smart food choices can help reduce stress, which makes the daily rat race a little more manageable, while the wrong foods will actually make stress worse! Here are five foods to help reduce stress:

  1. Sunflower and other seeds and nuts – These contain 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!
  2. 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.
  3. Colorful bell peppers – Bell peppers, especially red and orange ones, 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.
  4. Lentils – Lentils and other foods high in potassium can help maintain normal blood pressure. 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 only create additional stress for your body and mind.
  5. Turkey and other lean proteins– Turkey 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 your 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.

You will love the way you feel!