7 Best Foods to Combat Stress

You may think that with some breathing exercises and a run at the local park, all stress is forgotten. Don't rely on it!    

If you're going through a stressful time, you shouldn't ignore it. Fighting stress requires a comprehensive approach, and that also includes your diet. Feeling stressed can increase your need for certain nutrients and vitamins, including vitamin B, vitamin C, selenium, and magnesium, according to a review published in 2016 in the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences. Boosting your consumption of foods high in these nutrients and vitamins will help your body through a tough time. We list 7 of the healthiest food that will help you combat stress. 

1. 1. Nuts

Nuts to fight stress

A handful of nuts a day can help increase levels of serotonin, also known as the happiness hormone. Nuts will also provide vitamins and minerals such as zinc and magnesium (ideal for relieving fatigue) and fatty acids that help improve cholesterol levels.

2. 2. Avocado

Avocado helps reduce stress

Avocado is a very complete fruit (yes, it’s actually a berry!) because it contains fiber, proteins, minerals such as potassium and zinc, and healthy fats. All this helps reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.

3. 3. Spinach

Spinach to fight stress

One serving of spinach (1 cup) provides almost half of the magnesium your body needs each day, keeps you from feeling fatigued, or having those annoying headaches. Spinach also provides vitamin K and folic acid; the latter is very important for the proper development of the baby in pregnant women.

4. 4. Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits to combat stress

Fruits such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, or kiwis are high in vitamin C, which not only helps boost your immune system, helping prevent those pesky colds but reduces cortisol levels as well.

5. 5. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate to combat stress

Now we’re talking! Chocolate is fantastic for fighting stress and, as we all know, quite relaxing. It reduces cortisol levels and stimulates the release of endorphins, which gives us a feeling of happiness. No wonder it’s addictive. It’s important to stick to dark chocolate to take full advantage of cocoa contents and reduce sugar intake. The darker the better, so go for at least 70%.

6. 6. Oats, beans and pulses

Legume to combat stress

All these foods encourage the release of the so-called happiness hormones, or endorphins, which give us a sense of well-being. Full of complex carbs, they also contain vitamins and minerals. Their high fiber content means they longer to digest and have less of an immediate impact on blood sugar, according to Harvard School of Public Health.

7. 7. Infusions

Infusions to fight stress

The relaxing properties of chamomile, lemon balm or valerian are ideal for controlling anxiety and insomnia. Try having these infusions instead of drinking coffee all the time. A variety of mixes are available for purchase, both loose and in tea bags. You can also make infusions yourself (herbs, spices and roots such as ginger and turmeric are available at supermarkets). If you’re going for teabags, research the most eco friendly brands that use high quality ingredients and are free from plastic.

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