Foods can help us tame stress in several ways - boosting levels of our feel good hormones, reducing levels of our stress hormones and with some foods, just the act of CHEWING can help de-stress. This certainly isn’t a complete list; however, I included what I think are some ‘easy’ adds to a daily routine. Bonus: these foods also have tons of other health benefits and will make us feel awesome. Check them out.
DARK Chocolate (70% or more)
WHY: Dark chocolate is high in polyphenols and flavanols, which can improve mood and lower blood pressure. Sadly TWIX bars do not fall into this category.
HOW: Enjoy a couple of squares of quality dark chocolate each week to benefit from its mood-boosting properties.
WHY: Several types of seeds contain magnesium, which is known to heighten feelings of well-being, help stabilize emotions and fend off anxiety. Sounds good to me!
HOW: Snack on pumpkin or sunflower seeds; toss seeds on a salad or stir-fry, make your own hummus with tahini (sesame paste)
Oranges and Blueberries
WHY: Oranges and blueberries make the list for their vitamin C. Studies suggest vitamin C can curb levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system. In one study of people with high blood pressure, blood pressure and levels of cortisol (stress hormone) returned to normal more quickly when people took vitamin C before a stressful task.
HOW: Oranges, peel and eat, silly ;) Toss a handful of blueberries into oatmeal, a smoothie, your mouth!
Chamomile and/or lavender tea
WHY: Research shows that both of these flowers can calm nerves, reduce feelings of anxiety and promote sleep.
HOW: Herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free, so you can enjoy a cup any time you feel stressed - a great way to unwind before bed.
WHY: Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon and tuna, fish oil and flaxseeds, can prevent surges in stress hormones. Stress also depletes Omega-3s so they must be replenished. The stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline can also cause weight gain - another reason we want to shut those suckers down.
HOW: For a healthy supply of feel-good omega-3s, aim to eat fish at least twice a week.
WHY: Almonds are chock-full of helpful vitamins: vitamin E to bolster the immune system and B vitamins, which may make you more resilient during bouts of stress or depression.
HOW: To get the benefits, snack on a quarter of a cup every day or so.
WHY: In addition to their nutrients and fiber filling power, their satisfying crunch and act of chewing can release a clenched jaw and ward of tension.
HOW: Crunch, crunch and crunch.
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I am a personal trainer, health coach and fitness instructor. I want to educate and empower you so that you will be able to challenge yourself, safely and effectively, even when we are not working together. Check out these workouts and articles.