There’s stress eating and then there’s eating to reduce stress. Here are eight healthy foods that could help fight stress. And since stress and weight gain are intertwined, these foods may also help you lose weight!
These veggies do a body good! Leafy greens contain folate, a vitamin that helps produce the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. When stress levels are high, you want these chemicals flowin’! Try some Swiss chard sautéed with olive oil and garlic. It’s one of my 5 superfoods to shake up your diet”! Other foods high in folate: asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruit, Brussels sprouts, and garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas). Yum!
You’re getting very sleepy… and relaxed, thanks to the amino acid tryptophan found in turkey. It eventually converts to serotonin. And serotonin means good feels. Pair it with some complex carbs to get the full benefit.
This fish is a total superstar when it comes to nutrition! When we get frazzled, our bodies produce cortisol, a hormone that has been linked to extra belly fat, among other unfavorable responses. The omega-3s in salmon reduce anxiety and depression by combating that cortisol. Salmon also contains vitamin D, which has been shown to help with depression. Oh, and it helps you burn fat. Can’t beat that!
Full of antioxidants, blueberries should definitely be part of your diet. They help produce dopamine, that stress-fighting chemical! And they’re delicious. Eat them plain, on top of your yogurt, or stirred into oatmeal. And for a go-anywhere snack, try freeze-dried blueberries!
Speaking of oatmeal, it’s another serotonin supplier. This complex carb will soothe your mood. If you’re not a fan of hot oatmeal, try overnight oats. Aside from the serotonin boost, making breakfast the night before could reduce your stress in the morning!
To B, or not to B? That is the question. It’s also the answer to why avocados are great for stress relief. Studies have found that feelings of anxiety may be rooted in a vitamin B deficiency. Avocados contain vitamin B, so avo’ it up! This tasty treat (fun fact: it’s a fruit!) is a fantastic substitute for mayo on your sandwiches. And obviously, it’s essential for guacamole! Avocado is also a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can benefit weight loss.
These versatile lil guys are helpful at busting stress. Flax and chia are seeds with the highest amount of healthy omega-3s, so stock up on ‘em. They make great salad toppers, soup toppers, yogurt toppers… they’re TOP notch! Here are some other tasty ways to enjoy chia seeds.
Just the thought of sipping a mug of hot tea sounds calming, doesn’t it? Schedule in some tea time: chamomile, green tea, and black tea all work, so pick your favorite. Studies have shown chamomile tea aids in lessening anxiety symptoms. Similarly, a Japanese study found that drinking five cups of green tea each day could reduce stress by 20 percent. If you’re someone who gets frazzled after having caffeine, keep that in mind, and go for decaf!