Studies show time and time again when you eat right and avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugar, you feel less stress and more relaxed. To help you achieve less stress, here are some of the best tension and stress reducing foods. In addition, these stress reducing foods offer high levels of antioxidants, B vitamins, and calcium, so you can rev up your energy levels and ratchet down stress.
- Dairy. Dairy products not only provide calcium but also build muscle and help muscles recover. In addition, according to periodontists, dairy products are good for your oral health because they reduce gingivitis. Choose dairy products such as yogurt or cheese because they can help stave off hunger, which reduces stress.
- Berries. Although everyone thinks blueberries are the winner when it comes to antioxidants, cranberries beat blueberries hands down. They’re loaded with antioxidants, which is important to stop cell damage caused by free radicals. In addition, cranberries are rich in vitamin C, and if you’re deficient, it causes irritability. You can enjoy cranberries in sauces, gels, or as dried fruit. However, to get the highest level of antioxidants, drink cranberry juice.
- Guava. Guava is exceptional when it comes to vitamin C. It has 165 mg, in comparison to an orange’s puny 70 mg.
- Herbs. When it comes to herbs, herbs often rank higher in antioxidants than fruits or vegetables. An example of this is oregano. It’s number one according to the Apple Seed Project because it “has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries.”
- Fish and Shellfish. Because there are concerns about high levels of mercury in some seafood—Grouper, Marlin, Tilefish, Shark, King Mackerel, Orange Roughy, and Swordfish—you should select fish or seafood low in mercury. Some of the lowest are shrimp, clams, crab, lobster, salmon, trout, herring, and whitefish. It’s important to eat fish and shellfish because they’re a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-3s protect the heart and lower the body’s stress levels. Additionally, fish and shellfish are low in calories and low in saturated fats. They are also rich in things such as B vitamins, selenium, and vitamin A. Seafood is one of the critical stress reducing foods, and, to learn more about seafood, read Beneath the Sea.
- Poultry. Turkey has the soothing amino acid tryptophan that some people attribute to their sleepiness after Thanksgiving dinner. However, tryptophan acts as a biochemical precursor to serotonin, and serotonin is what promotes sleep and helps reduce anxiety. Turkey is also high in vitamin B12 and low in saturated fats.
- Red Lean Meat. Red lean meat provides energy so you don’t feel tired and so you can deal with stress. The best choice in red meat is lean beef, which also contains tryptophan. In addition, lean red beef helps slow the absorption of carbohydrates and stabilizes blood sugar levels. To keep red meat lean, don’t fry it, instead, grill, broil, roast, or bake it.
- Avocado. Although the avocado is really a fruit, it is listed in the vegetable section. It’s also more like a nut than a fruit or a vegetable because it’s high in calories (about 300) and fat (about 30 grams). The avocado is also rich in vitamin B6, and vitamin B6 is essential to control moodiness and regulate hormones.
- Broccoli. Broccoli gives you the biggest bang for your buck because it’s the highest vegetable in antioxidants. It’s also loaded with vitamin C, folates, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin K, all of which help make antioxidants more effective. Broccoli is also one of the important stress reducing foods: Lightly steam it to get the most nutrients.
- Spinach. This is another calming vegetable and to get the most nutrients it should be lightly steamed.
- Whole Grains
- Fiber. Fiber has calming effects and some good high fiber foods include pears, artichokes, guava, raspberries, and legumes. To learn more about fiber read Fiber is More Than a Hill of Beans.
- Spelt. Also known as farro in Italy or dinkle in Germany, spelt is often referred to as a healing grain and has been known to treat everything from cancer to depression. It is high in fiber, rich in protein, and filled with B vitamins.
- Cracked Wheat. Whole grains such as cracked wheat are almost as good as exercise because they increase serotonin production, and, as mentioned, that promotes sleep.
Constant stress shortens you life and reduces your overall health. Try these stress reducing foods for a day or two. They may help recharge you and help you regain total health. Moreover, your body will love you for it and that will create an uplifting cycle of good health, rather than a spiralling cycle of bad health.