Eat This and Say Bye-Bye to Stress
Creation is a beauty we rarely take note of. In our modern, fast-paced world, we hardly take a break from our electronic devices to appreciate what’s around us. For instance, scientists now claim that the blue color of the sky is an effective antidote to someone who has undergone acute psychosocial stress. To think that we have natural stress remedies offered free of charge, yet we spend a considerable part of our bills seeking stress relievers and pills is nothing but mind-blowing.
As people awaken from the spell cast on them by marketing, advertisements, Big Pharma, and Big Brother, more are gaining awareness of the need for natural living. The demand for organic and natural foods that reduce stress is rising as people turn to healthy diets for remedies.
As we actively pursue how to reduce stress through natural means, we’ll also be working on our habits and lifestyle and keep chronic illnesses such as obesity and diabetes at bay.
6 + 1 Easy to Make Foods that Reduce Stress
To properly understand how foods that reduce stress and anxiety function, we first need to comprehend certain hormones in the body. Nutritionists and scientists associate the hormone cortisol with stress. Cortisol has several roles in the body, including regulating your body’s energy, controlling the sleep-wake cycle, regulating blood sugar and blood pressure, and reducing inflammation. These events joined together will determine how stressed (or stress-free) you are. For example, how are your stress levels each time you fail to sleep for extended periods?
Adrenal fatigue comes about when your adrenal glands cannot keep up with the production of cortisol to help you cope and keep up with everything around you. In such cases, you may be depressed, lack sleep, experience body aches and nervousness, among other symptoms.
The good thing is, you can use natural foods as efficient ways to reduce stress. Below we give a list of six potent foods to get you started and bonus stress reduction tips.
Watch out for the sweet addictions
Before we bombard you with the not-so-yummy options, dark chocolate will work out just fine in small portions. By dark, we mean anything above 90% cacao. It contains less sugar (something you don’t want in your system if the plan is to do away with stress.) Moreover, it’s packed with fewer cocoa solids but loaded in antioxidants found to stimulate the euphoria-inducing chemicals like serotonin present in other chocolates. This results in lower blood pressure and enhanced blood circulation.
A dark chocolate a day and the best protein cookies keep the doctor away!
Green Leafy Veg
You saw this coming.
Green is life – you can never miss the mark with greens
Herbs to reduce stress may not be your # 1 go-to in the list (that’s why we didn’t list it first), but you sure need to increase your greens intake. The mission is to get as much folate in your system that manufactures mood-regulating neurotransmitters (dopamine and serotonin.) A lower folic acid status in your body will work to your disadvantage and probably lead to chronic stress.
Here’s a list of herbs to reduce stress;
- Collard greens
- Mustard greens
- Swiss chard
Other foods rich in folate include lentils, beans, avocado, asparagus, and chickpeas.
It’s no secret; olive oil now receives the multi-platinum standard for healthy foods and diet. Not only is it a powerful stress reliever, but it’s also used in a myriad of conditions. Research suggests it’s because of the minimal processing involved with extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil helps you increase the “good” HDL cholesterol while lowering the “bad” LDL cholesterol. This translates to long-term happiness, according to research
Nuts and Seeds
The right knowledge about food should allow you access to proper minerals and vitamins to reduce stress and boost immunity. No better place to source these out other than from nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are packed with proteins, Omega-3, and Omega-6 fatty acids, while some, such as sunflower seeds, also contain B vitamins, tryptophan. These nutrients boost serotonin levels and other essential neurotransmitters that reduce stress.
Variety is the spice of life: how so true with nuts and seeds
Consider having nuts and seeds as an afternoon snack before your next meal. You have options such as walnuts, cashews, and this almond milk recipe.
The look alone is supposed to draw you in and work on your moods. Strawberries are laden with fiber and vitamin C, known to be a potent mood regulator and an antioxidant. If you don’t have easy access to strawberries, other sources of vitamin C include grapefruit, red pepper, oranges, and other citrus fruits.
Make it cold, make it smooth, make it kefir!
Anytime we talk of healthy bacteria, kefir comes to mind. Kefir is naturally rich in probiotic bacteria that smooths and repairs the gut wall and linings, reduces anxiety, stress, and inflammation. Further still, kefir produces a neurotransmitter called GABA used in muscle relaxation and easing tension.
Kefir blends well when mixed with chia seeds, rolled oats, vanilla extract, and dried cherries.
Natural Ways to Reduce Stress
Only maximizing on foods that reduce stress may not deliver the much-required results if you fail to do certain things. Similarly, engaging in other harmful behavior will also compound your stress and bad health levels instead of lowering them.
Before we note down the best activities to reduce stress, consider doing away with these foods;
- Red wine and alcohol: You sure will feel better and more endowed to combat your stress in the short run after a glass or two. In the long haul, though, alcohol plus sugar will dehydrate your body as you undergo blood sugar swings and sleep problems.
- Tofu and soy: Unfortunately, most soy products in America are GMO-based and treated with glyphosate. When addressing tension and evaluating foods to reduce stress, you want to reduce your intake of highly processed foods or inorganic diets planted with an assortment of fertilizers and herbicides. Notwithstanding, fermented soy will have lower levels of phytic acid, which is preferable.
- Diet soda and pressed juices: Juices may be marketed as “natural fruit juices.” However, unlike fruits, they lack the dietary fiber needed to slow the digestion process. Moreover, they have higher levels of fructose and glucose. Similarly, diet soda uses aspartame – more bad sugars – that hinders the production of serotonin. In other words, water is your best option when it comes to drinks. Get used to it!
- Canned foods: The red light is not only on highly processed foods but also canned foods too. Whether you want a quick dip of canned soup or canned beans to satisfy your cravings, you need to be on the lookout for bisphenol A (BPA) present in most canned and plastic containers. This chemical has the opposite effect of what you’re aiming for in stress reduction.
- Coffee: Yeah, you didn’t see this coming. This may come as a shock to the coffee community. You probably love caffeine so much since it’s a mood booster and stimulates dopamine. But did you know caffeine blunts the absorption of other vital nutrients relevant in balancing your mood? Again, stick to water!
Now that you know the do’s and don’ts in foods that reduce stress, here are some natural ways to reduce stress.
Additional Activities that Reduce Stress
So now you have a food schedule that includes a regular salmon, oatmeal, nuts, and seeds, but is that all that’s needed?
These activities are generally considered to act as quick mood-boosters when you don’t feel like yourself;
- Regular exercise: Are you into cycling or swimming? Mountain climbing or paragliding? Walking or jogging? The gym or outdoor athletics? Whatever shoe fits you well, exercise is a tried and tested method of stress management. What’s more, you don’t necessarily need any equipment to maximize the value of workouts.
- Quality sleep: Another natural remedy for managing stress is sleep. It would be best if you thus implemented better strategies that will allow you to eat at the right time and sleep at the proper time. Reduce your exposure to blue light at night and get as much sunlight as possible during the day.
- Social bonding: Neglecting your social relationships may be having a ripple effect on your life. We were created as social beings and not islands. We would recommend doing less social media and more one-on-one conversations.
- Slow things down: The 21st century presents the challenge of multi-tasking, which was not common some centuries past. Today, we have to deal with dire and emerging issues, not to mention the overflood of information. At times, this can be overwhelming and weigh down on you. Taking quiet moments to slow things down and process everything may be a meaningful practice.
- The Bottom Line
You may not have control over everything that’s happening around you. Sure enough, you may not even have control over the stressors affecting you right now. But creation is made in such a way to help you bear the pressure. Whether it means eating better to realize a less-stressed environment, taking more nature walks, or engaging in activities to reduce stress, you are now better positioned to act accordingly.
Now that you know how to reduce stress and sleep better, what strategies do you use to minimize or eliminate anxiety in your life?
Kevin has been writing content for about 3 years. He really wants to share his experiences and advice with anyone who cares about health and fitness. He enjoys helping people achieve their fitness goals with simple instructions and overcoming any obstacles on the way.