Your Stress-Relieving Food Plan
When you’re worried, the foods you want are likely to be typical “comfort” foods, such as large meals, takeout, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it, when we’re worried or angry about something, we’ve all sought solace in a delicious dinner and a bottle of beer or glass of wine. This, however, is not a long-term answer.
You may feel better momentarily when you eat unhealthy meals, but you will feel worse in the long term. When your body doesn’t receive enough nutrients, it becomes less active, sluggish, and, in some instances, unable to concentrate and focus. All of this may add to your stress levels.
If you’ve been feeling more worried than normal recently, it’s essential to know which foods to eat and which to avoid when it comes to reducing stress and helping you cope with anxiety and stress. The greatest approach to combat stress is to eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet that contains a reasonable quantity of each food category.
The best approach to guarantee that your body receives the optimal quantities of nutrients to combat both physical and mental health issues is to make whole grains, green vegetables, and lean meats the fundamental staples of your diet. When it comes to eating, certain foods offer a variety of beneficial qualities that assist the body cope with stress. Instead of offering a momentary cure, choosing stress-busting meals will assist to mend and quiet your mind permanently.
The following are some of the greatest stress-relieving foods:
Avocado — Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit that may be eaten raw, with sauces, dressings, and dips, or blended into a smoothie. Because of their high glutathione content, which particularly inhibits the intestinal absorption of certain lipids that cause oxidative damage, these nutrient-dense fruits have the ability to stress-proof your body. Avocados also have the highest amounts of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene of any fruit, which contributes to their stress-relieving effects. Avocado, on the other hand, should be eaten in moderation due to its high fat content.
Blueberries – If you’re stressed out and reaching for the munchies, substituting one of the greatest superfoods for chocolate or chips is a fantastic method to reduce tension and attain a greater degree of serenity. Blueberries contain some of the highest amounts of antioxidants, including antho-cyanin, which has been linked to a variety of health advantages, including improved cognition, concentration, and clarity of mind – all of which may help you cope with stress more effectively.
Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not just about what you eat when it comes to stress management; what you drink may either help or hurt you. Coffee, energy drinks, and soda, which are rich in carbohydrates and caffeine, may actually raise your stress levels if taken on a daily basis. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural night soother, and it has also been shown to be helpful in clinical studies for decreasing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
Chocolate – Despite its reputation as an unhealthy indulgence, chocolate has an obvious effect on our mood. Chocolate consumption has been proven to make people happy in studies. That doesn’t imply you should start snacking on chocolate bars whenever you’re anxious — chocolate works best as a stress reliever when consumed in moderation and as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Dark chocolate, in particular, is beneficial to your health since it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two essential antioxidants that may help you cope with stress, than many fruit juices.
Beef — Grass-fed beef is not only better for the environment and animals, but it is also better for humans. Antioxidants found in grass-fed beef, such as beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, may help your body battle stress and anxiety. If you need another incentive to spend a little extra money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat and richer in omega-3 than grain-fed meat.
Oatmeal – Oatmeal is wonderful because it can be a satisfying comfort food while also having a lot of beneficial properties that help you feel good from the inside out. Oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that helps your brain to generate more serotonin, a feel-good chemical that makes you feel calmer and less worried. According to studies, children who eat oatmeal for breakfast are significantly sharper in the morning at school than children who eat other breakfast foods.
Walnuts – If you’re searching for a nutritious snack that may help you manage your stress levels, walnuts are a wonderful alternative. Walnuts have a sweet, agreeable taste that makes them a great snack or addition to a dessert. Walnuts are a versatile nut that may be used in salads or added to a sweet treat like coffee and walnut cake.
Pistachios – Pistachios are another excellent snacking item that may also assist with stress and anxiety in the long run. According to studies, consuming two tiny, snack-size servings of pistachios each day reduces vascular constriction when you’re stressed, placing less strain on your heart by dilating your arteries even more. Additionally, the rhythmic, repeated process of shelling pistachios may be very relaxing!
Leafy Green Veggies – Leafy green vegetables should be a staple in everyone’s diet. In addition to reducing stress, leafy greens are high in minerals and antioxidants, which help your body fight illness and feel healthier and more energetic. Dark leafy greens, such as spinach, are particularly beneficial because they are high in folate, which aids in the production of mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, a “feel-good” chemical. Making leafy greens a regular component of your diet can make you happier and less anxious.
Last but not least, consuming fermented foods like yoghurt may assist to keep your gut healthy, which can help to enhance your mental health and reduce stress levels. Beneficial bacteria present in fermented foods like yoghurt have a direct impact on your brain chemistry, sending good mood and behavior-regulating messages to your brain through the vagus nerve.
Putting Your Diet Plan Together
Meal planning is essential not just for keeping physically fit and healthy, but also for staying psychologically strong and managing your stress levels. Knowing which meals to avoid and which foods to go for as a snack when you’re concerned or nervous is crucial to gaining control over your emotions and worries.
When you’re worried, you may be tempted to go for traditional “comfort foods,” which are often high in sugar, starchy, or fatty. However, although these meals may make you feel better for a short time, they will make you feel worse in the long term.
Fresh berries, dark chocolate, yoghurt, walnuts or pistachios, or even a fruit smoothie with avocado and leafy greens may help you feel better in the short and long term when it comes to stress. When it comes to fighting and coping with stress in the long term, it’s important to ensure that you’re eating a healthy and balanced diet for the most part.
To remain on track, create a weekly meal plan and plan ahead to ensure that you have a sufficient supply of these stress-busting foods in your kitchen to prepare meals and snacks when you’re feeling stressed. Including foods like lean proteins and leafy green vegetables in the bulk of your meals will not only help you feel better overall, but it will also enhance your mental health and stress levels.
A nutritious, stress-relieving meal could look like this:
Oatmeal with berries or a fruit smoothie with avocado and berries for breakfast
Natural yoghurt with fruit or a handful of pistachio nuts for a mid-morning snack
Lunch: A spaghetti salad with a ton of healthy greens.
Dark chocolate as an afternoon snack
Grass-fed beef with veggies for dinner
Chamomile tea before bedtime
Of course, you don’t have to adhere to this selection – but it’s an excellent starting point! When consuming items like almonds, chocolate, yoghurt, or avocado, remember to consume in moderation! As the adage goes, you are what you eat, so make sure you’re loading up on foods that are beneficial for your mental health first and foremost.