Feeling stressed? We’re all bound to feel a little under pressure from time to time. One of the best (and easiest!) ways to combat stress is by tweaking your diet to include nutrient-dense and natural foods.
I came across this great feature from Health Editor, Erin Dow, where she breaks down how our bodies react to stress and why it’s so important to focus on healthy, nutritious foods. Erin also shares her top recommended snacks to “chill out.” Take a read…
A well-balanced diet provides our brains with the right fuel to operate at peak performance. But when stress puts a wrench in the works–either by eating too much of one thing or not enough of anything–the entire balance can be tipped. It’s a hard cycle to break after it’s started.
So when you’re stressed and your diet is suffering for it, my advice is to prioritize small portions of whole foods with varied visual and textural characteristics and flavor profiles. You can combine them into a meal or just nibble on combinations of them as a snack. The goal is to keep things from getting boring or hyper-focusing on one type of food.
If you have a small appetite, you won’t have to eat much; but, the small amount you consume will boost your brain and body’s ability to cope with stress. If you’re a stress-eater, a variety of foods tricks your brain into feeling satiated quicker, so you’ll eat less overall. Plus, the foods you’ve eaten will have covered a wider range of nutrients, meaning you’re on your way to breaking the cycle that got you there in the first place.
These are my top five stress-busting foods. As someone who is apt to not eat when stressed, I’ve chosen easy items that can be grabbed on the run. But I’ve also chosen nutrient-dense foods, meaning I’ll get the most nutrition out of each calorie I’ve eaten.
• Nuts: Omega-3s help the body maintain a lower blood pressure during stressful situations.
• Kiwi: A high Vitamin C content helps reduce stress hormone levels in the bloodstream.
• Oatmeal: A small serving of complex carbohydrates can boost serotonin levels, leaving you more relaxed.
• Dark Chocolate: Consumption of a modest amount of dark chocolate can help reduce anxiety in those prone to it.
• Strawberries: High in magnesium, strawberries can help reduce anxiety and irritability.
What do you crave most when you’re stressed? What type of healthy foods or activities do you rely on to unwind?