Life these days is pretty fast paced and full of activities and with that comes stress. While each person is affected differently by stress, many people experience a weakened immune system, a loss of appetite or, the opposite, an inability to stop eating anything and everything in sight. However if you know which foods help you to beat stress and relax your body, you can possibly eliminate these ill effects. These foods can help combat stress because they raise serotonin levels and lower adrenaline and cortisol levels.
Dark Chocolate: It’s high in flavinoids which help to calm your body. For maximum benefits, chose a bar that is at least 70% dark. Remember to stop at just one serving!
Oatmeal: To boost serotonin levels enjoy a bowl of oatmeal or other whole grain carbohydrates. It will help you to feel full longer and stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Avocado: Full of more potassium than bananas, avocados help reduce blood pressure, which is usually higher when you are under great levels of stress. They also contain the heart healthy fats which keep you feeling satisfied longer.
Oranges, Apples and Blueberries: All three are full of vitamins which will give your immune system a boost. Oranges are great for their high levels of vitamin C while apples contain plenty of fiber to hold you over until your next meal, thus reducing the likelihood of indulging in unhealthy cravings. Blueberries also contain vitamin C plus antioxidants which fight against free radicals, a cause of heart disease and early aging. Low in calories and full of fiber, blueberries are a great afternoon snack.
Beans and Lentils: Lentils contain high levels of magnesium which will relax your body in times of stress. Both beans and lentils are high in fiber and protein.
Spinach: Really, any dark green leafy vegetable will do wonders for your body. You need them to restore the vitamin B that is taken away by the cortisol. Good choices include broccoli, chard, kale, bok choy and even green beans.
Eggs: They help to control blood sugar and are a wodnerful sorce of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Just remember to eat them in moderation to keep your cholesterol levels in check.
Honorable Mentions: Milk, salmon, seeds, nuts, pineapple, turkey and water.
Here’s a sample meal plan to help the next time you feel stressed.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with blueberries and walnuts, milk
Lunch: Turkey on whole wheat bread with avocado and tomato, apple
Snack: Orange, piece of dark chocolate
Dinner: Salmon, spinach salad, pineapple slices