When you’re feeling stressed and anxious, what do you do? Do you mindlessly snack on chips or popcorn? Do you blink your eyes and a whole pint of ice cream has mysteriously vanished? Do you start with a small glass of wine that quickly turns into 1/2 a bottle of wine?
If you said yes to any of these, the good news is… you’re human.
The bad news is… you’re probably more stressed after the binge. Maybe you feel bloated, bogged down and sleepy after over-indulging with your favorite snacks. Maybe the guilt gets you down even more.
It’s probably no secret to you that what you eat has a direct impact on your health. This includes your emotional, mental and physical health.
So, if certain foods cause us more stress, wouldn’t it make sense that certain foods can help to relieve stress?
Let’s dig in and learn some of the top foods that help relieve stress.
This post contains affiliate links. Click here for full disclosure
How Does Food Relieve Stress?
The nutrients in foods impact your health on a cellular level. The foods you eat can make your cells healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy cells place extra stress on your body.
Nutrients in the foods that help to reduce stress impact your gut health, your brain health, and your emotional health in a positive way. They also help to stabilize your blood sugar and your emotional response to stress.
Related Article >>> 9 Plant Based Foods That Will Boost Your Mood <<<
Top 8 Foods That Help Relieve Stress
Stress is well known to elevate blood pressure. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that a diet rich in healthy whole grains such as oats can lower blood pressure.
Oatmeal is inexpensive and easy to find in grocery stores. It is super simple to make and can be the base for many creative oatmeal dishes. If you’re short on time, you can experiment with overnight oats.
Oatmeal can be topped with more healthy stress-relieving foods like flax seeds, nuts, fruits, dark chocolate chips, and cinnamon.
Related Article >>> Super Simple Healthy Oatmeal Recipe <<<
Bananas are high in potassium and potassium helps with neurotransmitter function. They are also high in tryptophan which helps to calm, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep.
Bananas help promote gut health. Gut health is closely linked to mental and emotional health. They help to relieve stress-related gastrointestinal disorders.
Bananas also help to stabilize blood sugar levels which can help avoid extra tension and stress in the body.
According to the Medical Medium, wild blueberries are the world’s most powerful food. Wild blueberries are an adaptogenic food, meaning they support the body’s natural ability to manage stress. They adapt their function to the specific needs of the body.
Wild blueberries help detoxify heavy metals from the body. Toxic heavy metals place extra stress on the body.
Quote from Medical Medium Life Changing Foods: “This (wild blueberries) is the food you want in your life when you’ve been through the unthinkable and need the support to rise up again.” How fitting for what we’re all going through right now?
Researchers have found eating blueberries can increase the count of a specific white blood cell that boosts immunity. Having a healthy immune system can help counter stress.
Wild blueberries are delicious on their own. You can also add them to yogurt, cereal, oatmeal, and smoothies. You can eat them fresh or frozen, they are both equally healthy. Frozen wild blueberries can be bought year-round and are usually cheaper.
Avocados are full of healthy fats that support brain and mental health. They also help to restore the central nervous system.
Avocados are also anti-aging and can help alleviate dark under circles.
Avocados are very filling and make a quick, healthy snack. For a super simple snack, cut open an avocado, take out the pit, squeeze some lemon juice and add a sprinkle of salt. Grab a spoon and scoop out bites of delicious, creamy avocado.
You can also make a quick, healthy breakfast or snack with avocado toast. Toast some whole grain bread, top with avocado. Make it more fun and tasty with salt, hot sauce, or everything bagel seasoning.
Make a super simple, healthy guacamole with mashed ripe avocado, lemon juice, and sea salt. If you want, you can add diced tomatoes, onions and/or jalapenos.
This superfood is an excellent source of healthy fats and magnesium which may help regulate emotions, alleviate depression, combat fatigue and minimize irritability. Magnesium can also help fight PMS.
Try adding a teaspoon of flax seeds to your oatmeal or next smoothie.
Studies have shown that eating dark chocolate regularly can reduce your stress hormones such as cortisol. Be sure not to confuse dark chocolate with milk chocolate. For the most health benefits, you want at least 70% cocoa.
Related Article >>> Three Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipes <<<
Need some healthy chocolate recipes? Download your free guide, How to Be a Healthy Chocoholic
Chamomile is well known for its calming and stress-reducing properties. It can also boost the immune system, soothe digestive upset and help to clear up skin problems. Needless to say a weakened immune system, poor digestion and troubled skin will all increase your stress levels.
For an extra powerful dose of chamomile, try using the essential oil for it’s healing, calming, and stress relieving benefits.
Nuts and seeds are jam-packed with nutrition, fiber, protein, and healthy fats that all support emotional well being.
Cashews are a good source of zinc which is a critical mineral that can help reduce anxiety symptoms such as irritability and lack of focus.
Cashews make for a quick, easy and portable snack. They can also be chopped and added to countless recipes. Blended cashews are also a great way to make vegan and plant based dishes more creamy.
More Stress Relief Resources
You can help to manage your stress with something as simple as the food you put in your mouth. In difficult times, we need more ways to manage our stress levels. You can download your free guide Building Resilience in Difficult Times here.