12 Foods to Reduce Stress
Your hands are sweaty. Your eyes are going dry. You’re on the verge of trembling, but you hold it all down. Even your heartbeat is threatening to turn you inside out. But you have to be productive, and you have to finish that project/write that paper/pass that exam.
You’re under a lot of stress.
Stress might feel good and fun when you’re trying to meet a deadline, but it also has a lot of bad long term effects. You could get sick more easily. You could disable your immune system. You could damage your circadian rhythms so badly, you’ll get insomnia.
Thankfully, there are a few foods that can help you get rid of stress. Here’s a list of a dozen foods that will calm you down and even increase your productivity, without you getting the jitters.
Foods to Reduce Stress
1. 7 Spears of Asparagus, Cooked – Believe it or not, this veggie, though unpopular, is actually packed with mood-stabilizing folic acid. Folic acid helps your body make serotonin, which eases you into relaxation and stabilizes your mood, which can often go awry when you’re under stress. This is because your body releases a lot of hormones that can turn you into Mr./Ms. Crankypants.
So what do you do? Steam some fresh asparagus and eat them. You can drizzle them with lemon or olive oil for some extra flavor.
2. A cup of lean beef – When lean and mean, beef is actually high in minerals and B-complex vitamins, which also help stabilize your mood. The iron also helps replenish your iron stores. Moreover, beef’s minerals can aid in wound healing and cell regeneration, keeping your body healthy while you’re battling it out with stress.
3. Half a cup of milk – Whether you prefer the thick creaminess of whole milk or the less fatty but equally delicious 2%, milk is still going to help you. With its rich store of vitamins, calcium, and protein, you’ll keep your immune system up and running. You’ll also keep your brain alert – as opposed to scattered and unfocused, which often occurs when you drink coffee.
4. Half a cup of cottage cheese and an orange – This pair packs a calcium and protein punch. The protein gives you an energy boost that is slow to burn – as opposed to sugar, which will spike and then drop off. This gives you energy for a much longer time, so you stay full and alert, but not stressed out and jittery.
The orange is also packed with Vitamin C, which can help your body get rid of the free radicals that come as a result of your stress reaction.
5. 1/3 cup roasted almonds – You might crave chips and salsa, but why waste your time on empty calories when you can bite into whole, crunchy almonds? With Vitamin E and B2, as well as minerals, almonds can beat the free radicals that your body releases as a result of the stress reaction.
6. A cup of blueberries – Who doesn’t love these sweet berries, especially when they’re in season? Blueberries have a lot of fiber and antioxidants, all of which can help your body absorb nutrients and flush out toxins. As a snack, blueberries can help you pass bowels easily, which can be a boon when you’re under a lot of stress and need to release toxins from your body. Why add constipation to the stress equation?
7. A can of tuna – Put it in your salad or make a sandwich with it. Tuna is a great way to fight stress via its B-complex vitamins, which keep your immune system running. Its high protein gives you an energy boost and helps keep you alert as well.
8. A cup of cornflakes – Cornflakes have both folic acid and B vitamins, both of which help reduce stress. Cornflakes make for a great breakfast with fruits and milk. They’re a great afternoon crunchy snack, too.
9. A cup (or more!) of sweet potatoes – Ever feel the need to grab a lot of carbs when you’re under stress? You’ll end up feeling heavy and bloated if you go for bread or sweets. Try reaching for bright orange sweet potatoes instead: they have carbs in addition to a lot of vitamins and fiber. You’ll feel satisfied without feeling too full, and you’ll help your body absorb nutrients better through the fiber.
10. A cup of dried apricots – Apricots have high levels of stress-fighting magnesium. Magnesium naturally relaxes your muscles, which makes apricots a good end-of-the-day snack.
11. A few slices of lean turkey – Turkey meat contains L-tryptophan, an amino acid that encourages the production of the relaxing hormone serotonin. Ever wonder why those big Thanksgiving meals make you feel sluggish? It’s all the L-tryptophan which, when taken in low doses, helps you relax and calm down – and bust stress.
12. A cup of spinach – Stress can cause migraine headaches and fatigue. Combat these symptoms by eating some spinach, which contain magnesium. Magnesium helps ease headaches and fatigue. Spinach also contains a lot of vitamins, which can help your immune system work better.
These are just 12 foods that can help you get rid of stress. The key to removing stress is to balance your work and your life, and make sure that you find time for yourself. When you change your diet and your working habits, you’ll find that you’re more productive and happier, both in the workplace and at home.