Given all the variables you are dealing with today with COVID-19, it’s natural to feel stressed and anxious at times. Our world has never been through a pandemic of this scope in our lifetime, shelter in place, and the accompanying stressors that are involved. Instead of grabbing for the potato chips when you feel anxious consider some of these superfoods instead.
When you are trying to solve stress levels what you eat can effect your tension levels or help relieve stress. Grabbing something salty, sweet, or high carbohydrate filled might give you an initial surge of feeling good, but will let you down very quickly. Stress relieving or stress busting foods help stabilize blood sugar and your emotional responses. Who couldn’t need help with that in these stress inducing times?
Antioxidants and phytonutrients found in blueberries help improve your body’s response to stress. People who eat blueberries can also experience a boost in natural killer cells, a white blood cell that bolsters your immune system and is critical for counteracting stress. Plus blueberries taste wonderful on salads, on top of oatmeal, mixed into yogurt-double plus there for stress busting, and are great mixed with seeds and nuts.
When you feel yourself stressing or feeling down it’s easy to grab a some guilt ridden pleasure; from cheeseburgers to fries, to the ice cream container to a fistful of cookies. But go green instead! Greens like spinach and kale contain folate, which helps produce dopamine, your feel-good brain chemical. Folate helps lift your mood, plus you get lots of fiber to fill you up so you won’t tend to snack as much. There are so many ways to eat your greens; salads, in wraps, blackened, or use greens for lettuce cups.
If you love carbs, oatmeal might be your go-to choice for a great stress busting food. Instead of thinking of donuts and cookies when stress hits, oatmeal is a healthy alternative. Carbohydrates can help your brain make serotonin, one of the same brain chemicals regulated by antidepressants. Stress can cause your blood sugar to rise, so a complex carbohydrate has staying power and wont add to the potential spike in your blood sugar.
Having balanced gut bacteria might help you ward off stress. On the other hand bacteria in your gut may be contributing to your stress if your gut bacteria is unbalanced. Research has shown that the brain signals our gut, which is why stress can cause us to have stomach problems. Stress responses can increase stomach acid. So if your brain is saying it’s stressed it can cause your stomach to produce acid on over-drive.
Yogurt can help soothe an over-acid stomach plus consuming probiotics, which yogurt has in abundance can reduce brain activity in the areas of your brain that handles emotion. You can use yogurt in your oatmeal as a topper, add it to a smoothie, eat it instead of ice cream, and so many more ways to get extra calcium, protein and probiotics into your system and help your immune system.
When you get stressed your body can increase your anxiety hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon have many anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce stress hormones. Plus salmon just tastes so good and can be served so many ways; from barbecued to baked, from stuffed to being used in your favorite salad, salmon is a great entree addition to a meal.
One 3-ounce serving of salmon can have more than 2,000 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids, double the daily suggested intake by the American Heart Association, plus it’s a tasty way to get your omega-3’s.
Magnesium is a great stress reducer that many seeds have as a common ingredient; including flax seed, pumpkin seeds and also sunflower seeds. Your other good sources of magnesium are leafy greens, yogurt, nuts and fish. Magnesium is calming and can help with depression, anxiety, fatigue, and moods. Seeds can be added to salads, used as a healthy snack, as a topping to rice, and can be added to smoothies.
Avocado is an amazing superfood. Avocado are filled with so many good nutrients; omega-3’s, contains more potassium than bananas, are loaded with fiber, contain folate, magnesium, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin C, E and vitamin K. The powerful combination of fat and fiber helps you feel full for longer and you tend to feel less hungry for a longer period of time after eating one. Avocados with all their nutrients are natural stress busters and can be used in smoothies, guacamole, in ice cream, great on salads and as an addition to sandwiches.
Tastealotta has so many recipes that use these wonderful stress-busting foods. Be sure to check out our recipe section and start incorporating stress-reducing foods into your diet. Our wish is through using some of these foods that your stress is reduced and you are able to relax more. Remember to relax, recharge and renew each day–it’s the key to better health!