There is no magic button to help our busy and sometimes stressful lives, but if we try and eat healthy and follow the research there are some foods which seem to help:
Identified as one of Mother Nature’s healthiest foods, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants (molecules that stop free radicals damaging healthy cells), so they work to protect and repair your body from the deleterious effect of too much stress. They are also bursting with vitamin C, which has been shown to reduce the production of cortisol, a stress hormone that, if left unattended in the brain for prolonged periods of time, can permanently deteriorate cognitive health.
Yoghurt most notably contains a high amount of calcium and is also great for neutralising too much acidity in the gut, which is often a by-product of too much stress. Researchers from the University of Toronto also demonstrated that when Lactobacillus Casei (a pro biotic found in some yoghurt’s and supplements like Yakult) was given to people with chronic fatigue syndrome on a daily basis for two months, their feelings of anxiety significantly decreased.
Dark chocolate has long been understood to be a great mood elevator. It contains phenylethylamine (PEA), which stimulates the production of endorphins, a feel-good chemical released in the brain that makes you feel happier. PEA is also the same chemical your brain releases when you feel like you’re falling in love. In addition, dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, a natural muscle relaxant that helps soothe and calm fragile nerves. A 2009 study found strong evidence that consuming 40 grams of dark chocolate per day for two weeks significantly lowered cortisol levels in healthy volunteers who had rated themselves as highly stressed.
4. Almonds, walnuts, & pistachios
Almonds, walnuts and pistachios are all highly nutritious stress-soothing snacks and great sources of magnesium, zinc, and vitamins B and E. Both E and B vitamins bolster your immune system, which counteracts the weakening effects of stress. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that helps kill free radicals associated with stress and studies have shown it also assists in the prevention of heart disease. B vitamins are important for the body’s production of energy, and so any deficiencies will leave you feeling weak and fatigued.
Spinach, broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, green peppers, green beans, peas, and zucchini – all of these dark green veggies contain B-complex vitamins, essential for the production of serotonin, a mood-enhancing neurotransmitter. High amounts of potassium are also typically present in these dark green vegetables, which studies have shown to be ideal for calming nerves.
So what’s for dinner at your house tonight?