Sometimes, stress can produce food cravings…and those are not always healthy foods. In fact, common stress-induced cravings like sugar can create energy highs and lows that just leave you more stressed. What if you could nourish your stressed-out body with stress-relieving foods? It may be that you can!
Eating a healthy diet is important in managing stress. But there are some foods that are better “stress busters” than others. Here are some of the top foods to eat for stress relief.
1. Red Meat
Red meat has been demonized over the years as an unhealthy food. But the truth is, red meat (especially beef) contains important anti-stress vitamins like B12 and other B vitamins. Red meat also has zinc and iron, which, like the B vitamins, are great mood stabilizers and energy-enhancers. In fact, beef is a very nutrient-dense food and generally quick to prepare. Some sources point out that grass-fed beef is higher in nutrients than grain-fed, feed-lot beef.
Popular in the spring when it first comes into season, asparagus also helps you feel more mentally and emotionally stable. This is due to its high folic acid content, which is needed to make serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood.
Rich in Vitamin C, oranges help nourish the adrenal glands. These small glands located over the kidneys “eat up” vitamin C and need a lot of it when you’re stressed, because stress taxes the adrenals.
4. Bell Peppers
These are also rich in vitamin C, and are helpful in nourishing the adrenal glands. Remember, adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones, are produced by the adrenals. They need a lot of nourishment when you’re stressed out.
5. Dark Leafy Greens
What makes green leafy veggies so good for stress management? It’s probably the magnesium, a mineral that you need more of when you’re stressed. Magnesium is necessary for optimal nerve and muscle function, which can prevent headaches and enhance sleep.
Another leafy green vegetable is Swiss chard, which helps regulate cortisol levels.
6. Salmon and Tuna
Also high in magnesium, salmon and tuna are high in protein and healthy fats. These essential fatty acids can help manage stress hormone surges and help mood problems like depression. Tuna is high in stress-fighting vitamins B6 and B12.
Most nuts are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant and vitamin that helps fight the free radicals that can be brought on by stress. Almonds have the additional perk of being high in magnesium.
These are just a few of stress-relieving foods you can eat.