When life gets tough, and our stress levels skyrocket, many people reach for snacks and sweets for some much-needed comfort. And while these treats can surely make you feel like you’re nourishing your soul, most of the time, they aren’t the most nutritious choices.
A healthy and balanced diet can help you counter the impact of stress and anxiety by boosting your immune system or lowering blood pressure. But which foods should you include in your diet when there are so many options? For example, vegans can focus more on legumes or go for greens like spinach, while meat-eaters can try adding more salmon to their meals. Fruits such as citruses are popular among those who have a sweet tooth.
If you need more ideas, continue reading the article below to learn which foods you should choose, depending on your dietary needs and preferences, so you can have an alternative that will help you avoid reaching for sugar and unhealthy snacks.
Eating nuts as part of a healthy diet may be good for your heart. For example, almonds are high in magnesium, which helps you relax and lower your blood pressure. Walnuts are a super plant source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can contribute to improving your mood and overall well-being by reducing inflammation. Cashews are bursting with nutrients that can help reduce feelings of stress, such as magnesium and vitamin B6.
CBD oil might not exactly fall into the category of foods, but it is one of the best things to help you relieve anxiety, manage stress levels, and provide calming, sleep-inducing effects. It’s made with cannabis oil but doesn’t contain THC, unlike most marijuana products.
Using CBD has been shown to boost your body’s natural serotonin levels and relieve pain. If you’re physically active and exercise regularly, you can even buy CBD oil for muscle recovery, giving you double benefits.
Dark chocolate is a rich source of antioxidants and minerals, and it generally contains less sugar than milk chocolate. Generally speaking, the higher the cocoa percentage, the better the health benefits. A bite of dark chocolate a day could not only be good for your heart but may also improve brain function, alleviate stress, and lower your blood pressure. Stick to a couple of squares a day for best results.
Spinach is a popular leafy green. You can enjoy it raw or cooked, and it makes a perfect addition to salads, smoothies, and different kinds of pasta. Spinach is rich in potassium, which has been proven to aid muscle relaxation and help with insomnia. It’s also rich in iron, which will improve your energy levels and boost your immune system.
Brown rice is another food that you can eat, both raw and cooked. It’s rich in fiber, which will prevent constipation and help you feel full faster after eating it. It’s also packed with antioxidants and other nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, B vitamins, and selenium – all essential for good health.
As a bonus, brown rice can lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, reduce your risk of diabetes and help you manage weight.
Another great source of protein is salmon. It’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of healthy fat that keeps your heart healthy by regulating cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids have also been proven to play an essential role in the optimal functioning of the adult brain.
As an added benefit, salmon is rich in selenium. This powerful antioxidant may support bone health, improve thyroid function, and even protect from cancer.
Blueberries are delicious fruits with a sweet taste but low in calories. The antioxidants found in berries help improve your body’s response to stress. They also have potent anti-inflammatory effects, act as a mood lifter, and are a great immune system booster. One cup of blueberries contains about 3.6g of fiber, which will keep your digestive system healthy by preventing constipation.
This is an excellent example of how you can make a healthy choice if you’re craving something sweet. Citruses contain many nutrients that can help you deal with anxiety and stress, including vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps your body neutralize the free radicals produced during times of stress and anxiety.
You can choose between blood oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, kiwis, and even kumquats – everything depends on which of these fruits you like the most. You can also make juices or use them as a base for your smoothies, which are the most popular ways to incorporate more fruits into your diet.
Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. It’s consumed in many different ways, from hot tea to iced tea, with milk, sugar, honey, or other additives. If you like drinking tea, green tea is a must. It contains bioflavonoids that can help reduce your stress levels by causing a reduction in the level of cortisol in your body – a hormone that is released when your body is stressed.
By drinking green tea, you can keep cortisol at an optimal level, which will help you deal with stress better. Of course, you can also go for herbal teas, and you can try chamomile or peppermint tea, which are popular due to their abilities to calm nerves and reduce anxiety.
Stress can be harmful to your health, so it’s essential to take proactive measures to lower your stress levels. These foods are a great way to fight back against the effects of stress, but remember that a healthy and balanced diet should also include plenty of lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Try incorporating these foods into your daily meal plans and eating them regularly to achieve the best results. If you feel like you need more help to lower your stress levels, consider seeing a nutritionist to a doctor.