Eating these 6 foods will helps reduce stress and anxiety by lowering inflammation, strengthening your immune system and improving your mood!
It’s clear that we are under an enormous amount of stress given the current covid-19 pandemic. From the news outlets to social media we are flooded with fear, the unknown and completely thrown out of our normal routine - causing even more stress!
Whether it’s the stress of covid- 19 or the stress of a new job, break up, running late to work etc. it is not uncommon to experience stress and anxiety daily. This type of stress is considered to be catabolic, meaning it breaks down our body. This is why we have to work extra hard to combat that stress or else we will suffer the long term effects.
When we are stressed and feeling anxious we habitually reach for anything to quickly improve our mood like junk food. These processed, sugary foods unfortunately only cause more harm to our bodies. Instead of reaching for your normal stress relievers opt for a healthier option like the 6 foods listed below. These will improve your immune system, fight inflammation, reduce stress, anxiety and improve your overall health!
These types of fish include options such as salmon and sardines and are at the top of their game for helping reduce stress. We owe it to the high amounts of healthy fats such as Omega 3’s like EPA & DHA to reduce inflammation, improve brain function and promote overall longevity. These fatty fish also give us a boost of vitamin D, B and selenium all of which fight oxidative stress on the body. It’s best to buy these wild caught, to ensure they are the highest quality. Other forms of healthy fats include olive oil, coconut oil and nuts like almonds.
These little seeds pack a big punch of magnesium which is an essential element to reducing stress and anxiety in the body. Did you know that magnesium is responsible for well over 300 reactions in the body including mood, brain and hormone function? If you can’t get your hands on pumpkin seeds, reach for spinach which has even more magnesium than pumpkin seeds do!
Avocados are not only delicious - hello guacamole! - but they also have a large amount of healthy fats, Vitamin C, E and Folate just to name a few. These are all brain boosting elements and are great antioxidants that counteract oxidative stress. The healthy fats in avocados also increase satiety after a meal meaning you will feel fuller for longer. Try some new ways to get avocado into the diet like putting it into your shakes, make chocolate mousse or the classic avocado on gluten free toast.
Turmeric is considered a superfood for many reasons and does not fall short of its hype. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is what makes this a powerhouse in reducing stress, anxiety, inflammation and improves overall health. Research has also found that curcumin helps increase DHA synthesis in the brain and liver, which can have anti-anxiety and calming like effects. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential to brain, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and immune health. You can find turmeric in capsule/ supplement form or you can use it daily in your diet as a spice, in a latte or an elixir.
Calling all chocoholics! This could be the best news you've heard all week- chocolate is actually good for you! Pure dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants which help reduce stress and improve your body's immune system. During stressful times we habitually reach for sweets loaded with processed sugars in hopes it will bring us comfort and lift our mood. Instead, grab a dark chocolate bar that’s 85% or higher. Eating high quality chocolate like this will not only improve your mood but reduce stress internally - and give us a little chocolate fix!
Have you ever heard that the gut is your second brain? Well it’s true. Our gut bacteria can make or break our mental health because over 80% of serotonin is made in our gut. If we have an overgrowth of bad bacteria we are not able to properly make serotonin. What does serotonin actually do you ask? It’s a neurotransmitter that regulates our (mood happy, sad, depressed) among many other functions. Starting to see why gut health is so important to our mood?
Having good gut health is also directly related to a healthy immune system, blood sugar regulation, inflammation and digestive health.
To keep our gut happy we want to give it the right beneficial bacteria called probiotics. These probiotics are found in fermented foods such as fresh sauerkraut, kimchi, kefir and you guessed it - yogurt!
In life we are always going to experience stress and anxiety but how we handle those situations is what’s important. When you feel a stressful situation approaching instead of falling into your normal routine - reach for these foods above! These will combat internal stress, improve your immune system and your overall mood making stressful times seem like a breeze. It’s very tempting to reach for the junk food and decrease your daily movement but it’s crucial to protect your body and mind during times like this.
That means it’s time to get creative in the kitchen! There are so many healthy ways to remake your favorite go - to's that you won’t even miss them anymore. By reducing the processed sugars, junk food and incorporating more of the foods above your body and mind will thank you! You will now be able to handle stressful situations better, improve overall mood, reduce anxiety and still feel so satisfied from the foods you’re eating. That’s a win win in our book!
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