Life has a way of getting the best of all of us on occasion. Whether you are working too many hours, have a stressful job in general, shuffling your kids all over town for their activities, taking care of your household, or dealing with personal or family matters… stress can take its toll on you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. However, there are a few simple things that you can do to help combat stress, starting with the food you eat. There are several “superfoods” out there that can provide you with the energy and nutrition your body needs to help it naturally keep stress in check.
What are superfoods?
Superfoods are a category of food items that are simply loaded with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Each boasts their own health benefits that can help improve your body, help fight disease, lower your anxiety, and help you manage stress. Here are 7 great superfoods that you may want to add to your diet… particularly when things get a bit stressful in your life.
Almonds are an awesome choice when it comes to arming yourself against stress. They are high in magnesium and zinc, as well as vitamins B2, C, and E, plus unsaturated fats. All which are great warriors against free radicals, which have been shown to cause a variety of cancers and heart disease.
Asparagus, which is high in folic acid, can help level out your moods. Folic acid and vitamin B are key players in producing serotonin, a chemical that gets you into a good mood.
Berries (pretty much all of them – blueberries, Goji berries, blackberries, Acai berries, etc.) are great for stress – they contain large amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C. Both of which help protect and repair cells while helping the body fight diseases.
Milk really does a body good. Chock full of calcium, protein, antioxidants, plus vitamins B2 and B12, milk helps promote healthy cell and bone regeneration. Cottage cheese is also another great dairy choice, particularly when coupled with fresh fruit high in vitamin C (like berries), it helps the body battle free radicals that run rampant during your most stressed times.
Cocoa is rich in flavonoids which are considered good for your heart. Dark chocolate specifically, containing at least 70% cocoa, is thought to lower blood pressure while improving your mood and lowering stress hormones (like cortisol and catecholamines). Well, who doesn’t enjoy a nice chocolate break!?
Salmon is a great source of natural omega-3 fatty acids which are good for the heart and help the body manage both cortisol and adrenaline levels. A recent study conducted by Ohio State University showed a 20% reduction in stress and anxiety in people who consumed 12-15 ounces of salmon after a tense or anxious event.
Spirulina is a blue-green algae, commonly consumed in tablet, powder, or flake form. Its consumption dates back to the 16th century Aztec culture where it was considered a common daily food. Spirulina is full of protein, vitamin B, and iron. It is considered good for fighting stress, fatigue, and depression.
Is there anything you should avoid?
Avoiding caffeine and alcohol is a good start when life is particularly stressful. Stimulants and depressants like these can both zap your energy and rob you of the fuel you need to successfully cope with tension. Sugar-filled foods should be avoided as well. They cause your blood sugar levels to spike then dip rapidly, which can in turn make your energy levels spike and dip at the same rate.
What are your go-to superfoods?
Let us know in the comments!