By Jane Sandwood, Health, Fitness, and Nutrition Writer
Most of us have heard the expression, “You are what you eat”. Well, it turns out mom was right. Scientists have found that the foods we digest can change our mood and even determine our stress levels. When we’re feeling anxious or tense, we tend to reach for chocolate, ice cream, chips, or whatever comfort food we can find. However, if you really want to feel better, try ditching the carbs and eat one of these stress-relieving superfoods.
According to some studies, stress and depression are linked to low levels of folic acid. However, lucky for you, asparagus has very large concentrations of folate. Just one cup of the green vegetable provides about two-thirds of your recommended daily dose and it can be mixed into just about any meal. Try it steamed, broiled until crispy, in an omelet for breakfast, or a salad for dinner.
Feelings associated with anxiety can be caused by a deficiency in B vitamins. Avocados are full of B vitamins that can help reduce your stress levels. The creamy fruit is also rich in monounsaturated fat and potassium which can work together to reduce blood pressure. A reduction in blood pressure can also reduce symptoms of stress and keep your body healthy for years to come.
A study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania researched the effects of chamomile on 57 participants with generalized anxiety disorder. After eight weeks, the researchers found that the flowers led to a significant reduction in anxiety symptoms. Chamomile tea creates a warm and soothing feeling which calms nerves and also helps promote restful sleep.
You should always be eating more protein because it’s essential for virtually every tissue, body part, and bodily process. If you eat protein in the morning, you can increase energy levels and reduce the agitation and mood swings associated with stress. Protein can also improve sleep quality and prevent stress from causing physical damage to your tissues. The best forms of protein for a healthy, stress-free diet are turkey, grass-fed beef, and nuts.
Blueberries have extremely high levels of the antioxidant known as anthocyanin. Anthocyanin is associated with increased mental cognition, positive vibes, and a calming attitude. Berries are also rich in the stress-combating Vitamin C. In one study, German researchers subjected 120 participants to stressful situations and found that the group given Vitamin C showed fewer indicators of stress and lower blood pressure during the tasks.
If you’re having a rough day at work or suffer from any number of stressors, then ditch the bucket of ice cream and reach for one of these healthy, stress-relieving alternatives. Your body will thank you and you’ll feel less stressed in no time.