It's time to rethink your comfort foods! Instead of turning to sugars and sweets when you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, check out these 10 power-packed foods that reduce your stress. They're also available right here in North Carolina!
These flower-like spears are high in folate, a calming B-complex vitamin known to reduce feelings stress and anxiety and produce dopamine for the brain. Enjoy cooked or raw asparagus to reap the benefits of this powerful food.
Blueberries are a great stress reducer due to their high vitamin C content. Actually, ll berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are rich in vitamin C. Blueberries have the added benefit of having some of the highest levels of an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, which has been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition.
Broccoli is packed with a ton of vitamins including stress-fighting B vitamins and folic acid (a member of the B vitamin family). These nutrients relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. To preserve these vitamins and get the most out of what broccoli has to offer, enjoy it raw in a salad.
Dark Leafy Greens
Dark leafy greens like kale are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Most antidepressants focus on the production of serotonin. Give your happiness levels a boost by including spinach, kale, or other leafy greens into your diet.
Like many plants, garlic is packed with powerful antioxidants. These chemicals neutralize free radicals (particles that damage our cells, cause diseases, and encourage aging). They may even reduce or help prevent some of the damage the free radicals cause over time. Because stress weakens our immune system, power foods like garlic may help boost it back up.
Grass-fed beef is not only better for the planet and the cows themselves, it's also better for people. Grass-fed beef contains more antioxidants—including vitamins C and E and beta-carotene—than grain-fed beef. It also has the benefit of not having added hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs. And while it's lower in fat overall, it's about two to four times higher in omega-3s.
Though they're probably best know for being an aphrodisiac, oysters are also a great stress fighter due to their high zinc content. Zinc plays a part in modulating the brain and body’s response to stress. Zinc deficiency has also been linked to depression. So next time you're feeling down, head to your local seafood market and pick up a peck.
Most people know that turkey is a good source of tryptophan. What you may not realize is that tryptophan is an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin, the happiness-inducing neurotransmitter.
Walnuts are high in an essential omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid. Research has found that eating foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids can affect blood pressure response to stress. They are also a rich source of fiber, antioxidants, and unsaturated fatty acids.
Pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are great sources of magnesium. Magnesium has been shown to help alleviate depression, fatigue, and irritability. It helps to regulate emotions. As an added bonus, the magnesium found in these seeds can help fight PMS symptoms, including cramps and water retention.