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We have all been victims of stress and that being said, we have all been victims of stress eating. When it comes to battling stress, we naturally turn to comfort foods like ice cream and wine which, in the long run, tend to take a toll on our body. We don’t blame anyone for indulging in these comfort foods because as nature has it, it is what our body requires at that very moment.
Stress increases cortisol levels in the body which in turn makes our body crave carbohydrates. In search of these carbohydrates, we tend to turn to unhealthy snacking options. Now, this is where the article gets interesting. What if we told you that you can eat all you want when you are stressed without any negative after-effects?
Yes! You read that right. You can indulge in stress eating and it will do nothing but benefit you in the long run! All you need to do is replace unhealthy snacks with healthy ones. According to Dr. Axe, “Neurotransmitters are your brains “messengers” and control mood, energy levels, appetite, and several other functions in the body and they’re significantly influenced by what we eat or don’t eat.” These foods have been proven to elevate mood and reduce stress levels and you should definitely include in your daily diet to maintain optimum mental health.
Green leafy vegetables: Lettuce tell you that putting green veggies on your plate is the best thing you can do for a stronger immunity and an active mind. This is because they contain an array of important nutrients like folate, magnesium and iron which helps boost mood and reduce stress. According to Calm Clinic, magnesium is highly involved in regulating over 300 chemical reactions in the body, many of which are related to stress and anxiety.
Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are rich in antioxidants which are great for a person’s mental health. In addition to that, berries have a significant amount of Vitamin C which is known to reduce stress significantly.
Turkey: A Thanksgiving favorite- turkey is loaded with the chemical tryptophan which is effective in reducing stress. It also releases hormones like serotonin which give the brain a ‘happy rush.’ In addition to that, it elevates mood and helps in having a steady and stable state of mind. That’s a good enough reason to have turkey without waiting for Thanksgiving!
Dark chocolate: Over the years, dark chocolate has earned a well-deserved spot in the list of stress-relieving foods. According to research conducted by Dr. Lee S. Berk, Associate Dean of Research affairs at Loma Linda, ‘the higher the cacao consumption, the happier you become.’ In addition to being heaven for the taste buds, dark chocolate is filled with antioxidants like flavonols and polyphenols which help free the mind and minimize stress. Dark chocolate also helps in lowering blood pressure which keeps the mind and the body calm.
Note: Only dark chocolate in moderate amounts has a positive effect on mood, memory, and immunity.
Avocado: Regular consumption of avocados helps reduce stress and anxiety as they are rich in Vitamin B nutrients which are known to calm the nerves and keep the brain healthy and active. Avocados also contain magnesium which is known to ease down anxiety-related symptoms.
Oatmeal: Oatmeal is an ideal breakfast option as it is full of complex carbohydrates that keep your stomach full for a longer time. These complex carbohydrates also boost the serotonin levels which relaxes the body and increases overall health and happiness.
Almonds: Almonds are rich in magnesium and research has shown that magnesium helps in treating anxiety-related symptoms. In the absence of sufficient magnesium, the level of the neurotransmitter 'serotonin' in the brain is reduced considerably. Consuming just 1 ounce of almonds provides the body with approximately 75 mg magnesium which is 19% of the daily recommended value.
These foods if consumed regularly can help in reducing stress levels and improving overall mental health.
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