Competition is rising to new heights every day. Whatever may be the field the performance pressure is becoming insidious. With this increase in the idea of becoming ‘perfect‘, stress is winning the game of ‘who is the evilest?‘. Stress has become a social issue and it is serious. To beat stress, stress management is a very important tool one must practise. One of the best ways to manage stress is eating. Yes, you heard it right. Eating certain foods can help with stress relief. To help you practice effective stress management, we are listing down 7 best foods for stress reduction. Remember, just eating stress relieving food is not the cure of stress. You have to practice self-care as well and also take a few notes from the quote below.
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another” -William James
Let’s start with our list of stress-busting food.
7 Best Foods For Stress Reduction
It should come as no shocker to many. We have all hogged on chocolates during stressful times. Even science supports this choice, as dark chocolate has been shown to reduce cortisol. What is cortisol? Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone associated with our body’s fight or flight response to situations. Its function is to fight stress but when cortisol itself skyrockets it can become harmful for the body. During intense and repeated stressful situations, the same hormone which is meant to fight stress may do otherwise and increase it. High levels of cortisol can make you lethargic, lead to more fatigue very often, increase weight, cloud your thoughts (brain fog) and lead to complications like high blood pressure and type-2 diabetes.
Not just stress, eating dark chocolate possess many other potential benefits. For example- a study revealed consuming dark chocolate every day resulted in the reduction of stress and anxiety levels and an increase in metabolism as well.
Cocoa contains an antioxidant known as flavonoids. This antioxidant exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Flavonoids possess other benefits like-
- Help manage high blood pressure.
- Lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Berries including blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and blackberries are a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Vitamin C plays an important part in stress management. It helps in doing so by preventing the secretion of cortisol in subjects who show repeated signs of stress. While the antioxidants repair the damage accruing to oxidative stress caused after high anxiety levels.
Fresh and uncooked fruits and vegetables like orange, kiwi, lemon, guava, grapefruit, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, capsicums, papaya and cantaloupe and berries are a good source of vitamin C as well. Cooking and exposure to light can destroy vitamin C due to its unstable nature. For the same reason, vitamin C supplements are a preferred choice to get vitamin C in.
Almonds, pistachios, cashews and walnuts are rich sources of B vitamins, zinc, healthy fats and vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which protects against oxidative stress. Different B vitamins manage different types of stress. Let’s have a look at how?
|Vitamin||How does it help?|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||Stabilise mood.|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||Calm the nervous system.|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||Stabilise mood, low levels of this vitamin can make your irritable and lead to stress.|
|Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)||Increasing serotonin (neurotransmitter contributing to feelings of well-being and happiness).|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||Improve mood.|
|Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)||Production of melatonin and serotonin.|
Sipping on a hot cup of tea can help calm your nerves. Researches show some herbal teas can help in effective stress management. Let’s have a look at 4 stress-reducing teas-
Peppermint Tea- This tea contains menthol which is a natural muscle relaxant. Sipping on peppermint tea before bed will calm and relax your muscles. This will help you get a peaceful sleep after a hectic day.
Chamomile Tea- Insomnia is a sleep disorder where a person finds it hard to sleep. Stress and anxiety can lead to such disorders. Chamomile tea helps in inducing sleep by calming and relaxing the nerves and muscles.
Green Tea- This tea contains an amino acid- Theanine. L-Theanine contributes to relaxation by effectively controlling a person’s resting heart rate. It also helps relax before bedtime thus leading to a better good night’s sleep.
Passion Flower Tea- This tea contains the flavone- chrysin. Chrysin helps reverse the effects of oxidative stress. It has therapeutic effects on physiological stress.
Of all the items on this list, this one will come off as the most surprising one to all. We all know the many fitness-related benefits of oats. How it is a great addition to our diets owing to its carbohydrate structure. One benefit of oats which doesn’t make to a lot of lists is its properties of relieving stress. Let’s see how oats can help you bust stress.
Oatmeal helps in boosting serotonin levels, which stimulates the feeling of happiness and calmness. This results in an improved mood. Oats are also rich B vitamins and magnesium. All these stress-busting benefits of oats make them a superfood for stress reduction as well.
Omega-3 fatty acids are great stress and anxiety combaters. They can directly interact with the mood-related molecules inside the brains. Their anti-inflammatory properties fight and help relieve people of depression. They are an effective tool in treating depressed individuals. DHA in omega-3 can help with suicidal feelings as well.
Fatty Fish like Salmon is a great source of Omega-3. Fish oil supplements are a great way to get Omega-3 as well in case you don’t prefer to eat fish.