Just thinking about all the chores that are building up, the errands you have to run, the looming work deadlines and the social demands on your overbooked calendar can run you ragged. Talk about stress!
If left unchecked, stress can lead to many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Not to mention stress can also take a toll on your thoughts and behavior.
When life gets hectic and we're feeling stressed, we tend to put healthy eating on the back burner. But heading to the vending machine or grabbing a meal at the drive-thru won't alleviate the stress in your day.
To combat stress levels, take a look at what you eat. It may actually help relieve your tension. In fact, certain foods can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and your emotional response to stress.
Here are 6 foods you can eat to reduce stress:
When we're stressed our blood pressure can become elevated. A study* published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet which includes whole grains such as oats can lower blood pressure.
Tip: Oatmeal in a jar is a great way to keep a healthy meal or snack available at any time.
Researchers have found eating blueberries can increase the count of a specific white blood cell that boosts immunity. Having a healthy immune system can help counter stress.
Tip: Try adding blueberries to your oatmeal or yogurt in the morning.
3. Flax Seeds
This superfood is an excellent source of magnesium which may help regulate emotions, alleviate depression, combat fatigue and minimize irritability. Magnesium can also help fight PMS!
Tip: Try adding a teaspoon of flax seeds to your next smoothie.
4. Dark Chocolate
Studies have shown that regularly eating dark chocolate can reduce the stress hormones in your body including cortisol and catecholamines (aka fight or flight hormones). It can also ease emotional stress. That's great news for all you chocoholics!
Tip: Stick with the kind that contains at least 70% cocoa and keep it to just a bite or two and not the whole bar.
These kidney-shaped nuts are a good source of zinc which is a critical mineral that can help reduce anxiety symptoms such as irritability and lack of focus. Their portable nature makes them an ideal snack to keep in your purse for when you're on the go.
Tip: You can easily find ready-made single-serve packs at your grocery store or buy in bulk and make your own bags. Toss a couple in your purse on your way out the door.
Ok, so maybe not exactly a food, but rather an herb. However, these can be consumed as a food on a regular basis. Many adaptogens work well in smoothies, warm drinks, and homemade energy bites.
Adding these 6 foods into your diet can help you relieve stress and help with your health and wellbeing. Which one will you try?
What food do you turn to in times of stress? Share it with us in the comments.
Need more stress-relieving ideas?