You’ve probably heard the old adage that you should “let food be thy medicine.” But when’s the last time you gave a thought to the healing power of the foods you’re eating? If your body was a car, putting quality fuel in it would make it run efficiently. The human body is no different. Diet is often overlooked as a tool for many health concerns, stress being one of them. Here are some foods that help with stress and support your mental well being.
Serotonin is the body’s natural feel-good hormone. A jump in serotonin levels means an improved mood, and therefore reduced stress. Examples include:
- Whole-grain bread or pasta
- Milk and cheese
Stress Hormone-Reducing Foods
Two major culprits for increased stress on the body are adrenaline and cortisol. Foods rich in Vitamin C are great for this, not to mention for your immune system. In a study of individuals with high blood pressure, when the participants ate a food high in Vitamin C after a stressful event, their cortisol levels and blood pressure returned to normal levels faster than a control group who didn’t have the Vitamin C. For some stress hormone-fighting foods, go for:
- Green or black tea
Another category of foods that help with stress is magnesium-rich foods. Magnesium is a mineral with relaxing and calming effects. It’s found in a variety of foods, yet many people are deficient without knowing it. The average American diet contains only about 50% of the recommended daily value. For example, foods to try are:
- Dark chocolate
- Raw almonds
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3s are known to boost mood, and they have feel-good effects when eaten regularly. You should be aiming for a source at least three or four times a week. Implement fatty fishes as an entree, add chia or flax seeds into your smoothie, or take a supplement if you struggle to get enough. Foods high in Omega 3s include:
- Chia seeds
Adding these foods into your diet is simple if you plan your meals ahead of time and grocery shop accordingly. Food has the power to boost serotonin, lower cortisol, regulate blood pressure, relax the body and boost your mood. So, the next time your stress levels are climbing, remember the power of your diet and try out these foods that help with stress.