Everyone experiences stress to some degree. However, high amounts of stress can lead to some serious health issues if the problem isn’t dealt with quickly. Stress can wreak havoc on your general health and well-being and with stress being one of the major factors in unwanted weight gain, it’s important to know how to keep your levels at bay so they don’t ruin your waistline. Everyone’s heard of the obvious solutions; medications, exercise etc. However, it’s not common knowledge that the consumption of certain foods can help fight stress-related hormones while increasing the productive rate of feel-good hormones to help keep you ready to tackle anything life throws at you.
1. Leafy green veggies
Green veggies (spinach, kale, turnips etc) are packed with the dopamine-boosting folate. Low amounts of dopamine can lead to stress, lack of motivation, fatigue, mood swings and even memory loss, so it’s important we keep ourselves topped up. Sufficient amounts of dopamine gives us the focus and drive we need to achieve our goals and really get the most of our of days.
Berries aren’t just a delicious, nutrient-packed fruit. Berries are also loaded with infection-fighting antioxidants which can help combat disease and illness. Although berries don’t necessarily fight stress first-hand, they do help fight against conditions which certainly could elevate levels of stress.
3. Zinc-filled foods
Various studies indicate that zinc is linked to a reduction in anxiety and stress-related symptoms. Shoot for servings of cashews, oysters, lean beef, poultry and yoghurt if you want to bump up your zinc intake.
Who doesn’t love chocolate?! Dark chocolate is home to mood-boosting compounds which can help lower cortisol and possibly even lower blood pressure. However, it’s important to watch your calories when you’re eating the sweet stuff as the sugar high sugar content can quickly turn a subtle snack into a calorie nightmare.
Magnesium has been shown to decrease irritability, lethargy and depression and seeds are packed with the stuff! However, like your chocolate, make sure you’re watching the calories when you’re chucking them in as they’re higher in energy than you probably think – so watch the portion size.
Salmons, tuna, mackerels, trout and sardines are dense in healthy omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce stress and hormone which can offset anxiety.
Alpha-linolenic acid – an another form of omega-3 fatty acid. Various research piggybacks studies which confirm that (along with poly-phenols) they have an ability to combat memory loss.
Chamomile has long been accepted to help promote better quality sleep and is has recently been linked in clinical settings to significantly reduce the symptoms of anxiety. Chamomile tea is your best bet if you want a quick, easy way to get it in your body.
9. Green tea
Aside from the subtle caffeine content of green tea which can help promote focus and alertness, green tea also contains L-theanine – an amino acid that can help boost mental performance.
Oats (and other complex carbs) contains slow releasing carbohydrates which increase your levels of serotonin. Serotonin is the feel-good hormone that helps promote a feeling of calm – helping in the battle against the blues.
11. Grass-fed beef
Grass-fed beef is dense in vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene alongside omega-3 fatty acids. Adults who have higher levels of omega-3 generally have better moods and report lower amounts of stress.
Bananas aren’t just for monkeys – they’re absolutely packed with vitamin B6 which can help regulate and control blood glucose levels. Low blood glucose levels can adversely affect your mood causing mood swings and impaired cognitive function.
Avocados contain a substance called glutathione which is responsible in blocking certain fats which could potentially cause damage in the intestines. Avocados also boast a generous serving of folate (go back to point number 1 if you need a refresher).
14. Garlics, onions and leeks
Allicin is an antioxidant that is rich in these foods. Allicin assists in the neutralisation of free radicals which can cause damage to your cells and weaken your immune system’s efficiency.
15. Nuts, seeds, fish and tofu
These foods aren’t just packed with protein, they’re also loaded with tryptophan – an amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for that “feel-good” feeling we get when we exercise or do something we enjoy. It’s a chemical that that only lifts our mood but also increases the overall level of happiness we experience.