Whether it’s a high-pressure work assignment or simply trying to juggle day-to-day demands, life’s stressors are unavoidable. Exercise is always a good idea for relief -- but did you know that a healthy diet can help, too?
If your first thought is “comfort food” -- cookies, ice-cream, or fried chicken for example -- think again. These high-sugar, fatty items offer only a short-term reprieve. Instead, opt for one of our favorite anxiety-busters below.
Ever wonder why you crave carbs when you’re stressed? According to MIT research, carbohydrates increase the body’s level of serotonin, a calming, feel-good chemical in the brain. In fact, serotonin is the same substance used in antidepressants, but mindful dietary decisions can give the same uplifting feel, in a more holistic way. The trick is to reach for slow-digesting, complex carbs, like a bowl of gr8nola.
Blueberries are considered a superfood for good reason. This tiny, but mighty fruit is rich in both antioxidants and phytonutrients, which fight stress-related free radicals. Blueberries also provide a boost in the body’s white blood cells which support a strong immune system, so when stress does strike, you’ll be ready.
Sure, we love a relaxing bath before bed to unwind, but a healthy dinner with the same calming effect can be just as nice. Seafood -- specifically salmon, anchovies and oysters -- contains heart-healthy omega-3 fats, which manage adrenaline levels with each savory bite for a calmer, more collected mindset. The benefits don’t stop there though: Seafood can help prevent cancers and diseases such as Alzheimer's, asthma, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
Try whipping up this Salmon Avocado Mango Zoodle Salad to change your mood.
We all know eggs are a great source of protein, but did you know they also contain the stress-reducing nutrient choline? This nutrient produces a neurotransmitter which regulates the body’s mood, and the higher levels of choline in the body, the less anxious one tends to be. Eggs also contain vitamin D, which has been proven to ease both anxiety and depression.
Take on a new day by fueling up with a veggie-packed frittata.
Buddhist monks, the masters of zen, drink matcha regularly as it offers a way to “flow” through meditation while remaining present. Naturally containing the amino acid L-Theanine, matcha green tea powder creates a calm-yet-alert state of mind and prevents the decline in cognitive function. It also promotes a healthy heart, increases weight loss and is downright delicious to put in your lattes and clean snack and smoothie recipes.
Crafted with Japanese matcha green tea powder, our Matcha gr8nola is a must before yoga class or work.
What better way to relieve a stress-induced clenched jaw than with a handful of nuts? With a satisfying crunch, cashews, almonds and pecans are also great sources of zinc. Low levels of zinc have been found to correlate with anxiety. Unfortunately, our bodies do not store this nutrient, making it even more important to eat nuts daily.
A bit salty, a tad sweet, these No-Bake Cashew & Chocolate Pretzel Bars will satisfy all your cravings at once.
When stress strikes, many of us crave chocolate. Instead of grabbing a bar that’s loaded with refined sugar, milk and stabilizers, reach for snack options with higher amounts of cacao. With a high dose of magnesium, cacao naturally calms the central nervous system. It also contains abundant nutrients and antioxidants, protects your heart and regulates blood sugar.
Our personal favorite Cacao-based snack? Our Coco Cacao gr8nola of course!
Whether you’re a stress eater or interested in preventative care, reaching for the right foods can make all the difference when it comes to showing stress who’s boss.