5 Stress-Reducing Foods to Add to Your Diet

oatmealThere are several ways to attack stress, and the symptoms of stress in our bodies using food. The trick is getting all the nutrients we need to fight stress, without eating excessive calories. This is easy to do, by substituting unhealthy foods with these options, and watching your portions. So instead of eating a super-sized burger and fries, then gobbling carbs and nuts, and stressing over weight gain, simply replace meals and snacks during the day with healthier, stress-reducing alternatives.

1. Boost Serotonin Levels With Whole Grains

Serotonin is the chemical in our brains that tells us we’re happy and content. Lots of foods boost our serotonin levels, including comfort foods like complex carbohydrates and milk. You can get healthy complex carbs from whole grain cereals, breads, pastas, and oatmeal. Whole grains are also filling, so these foods help prevent over-eating.

Usually, people enjoy breads with butter, and pasta with a rich sauce. Up the nutritional value, and lower the calories by enjoying bread with sugar-free jam, and pasta with a tomato based sauce flavored with oregano, and other herbs and spices.

2. Cut Stress Hormones With Citrus and Black Tea

Cortisol and adrenaline are stress hormones. They make us feel horrible, and over time eat away at our good health. Black tea is a great way to lower these hormones, and unlike coffee and some other peppy drinks, it don’t raise our heart rate or blood pressure. Foods containing high levels of vitamin C also cut cortisol and adrenaline, such as citrus fruits.

Fortunately, black tea has no calories, and citrus fruits are very low in calories. Read about other foods that reduce cortisol and adrenaline at the Best Drug Rehabilitation Manistee blog.

3. Lower Blood Pressure With Nuts and Seeds

One of the most serious effects of stress on our system is high blood pressure. Even if you don’t ordinarily have high blood pressure, the effects of constant spikes in blood pressure through the day, in response to stressful situations takes its toll. You can lower blood pressure by avoiding too much salt, and adding foods like nuts and seeds to your diet. Pistachios are another good choice. Keep portions to a single handful, because nuts pack serious calories.

4. Stock Up on Magnesium in Spinach and Salmon

Low magnesium is linked to frequent headaches and fatigue, both of which add to stress levels. Spinach is packed with magnesium, as are soybeans, and salmon. These foods also have many other nutrients, some of which are healthy for the heart, such as Omega 3 acids in salmon.

5. Boost Your Immune System With Omega-3 Rich Foods

The vitamins in spinach also help boost the immune system, which takes a brutal hit in times of stress. You can also give your immune system a boost with the vitamins A and E found in almonds. Substitute two, or three servings of red meat per week with Omega 3 rich fatty fish, such as salmon, or tuna. These have the added benefits of lowering stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, and improving heart health.

When you can’t eat your way through a stressful situation, consider other ways to calm your nerves. A brisk walk, cuddling with a pet, enjoying the outdoors, and engaging in a calming activity like painting all help relieve stress. When it’s time to eat, grab one of these healthy alternatives to candy bars and potato chips.

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About Natalie Bracco

Natalie Bracco is a freelance food, lifestyle, and technology writer currently working on heath and beauty subjects. She is currently living in sunny Florida. When she’s not out exploring and blogging the newest trends she’s out writing for established companies like Copy for Bylines. Follow her on Twitter @NatalieBracco.