7 foods to eat to reduce stress help bring calm

Meditation. Attention. Move. Meet the fascinating trio of stress relief methods. It’s no secret that these popular solutions to stress are widely written and applied. After all, they are known to increase stress resilience and improve the ability to cope with triggers. But as we know, what we eat can also have the power to transform how we feel. Indeed, it’s no secret that nutritious meals can boost our mood. And when it comes to foods to eat for stress relief, delicious, healthy ingredients are key to helping us feel our best.

I’m wary of sweeping generalizations, but it’s safe to say we’re all pretty familiar with the concept of stress. It can be assumed that we have all been through that. Reports of a national mental health crisis are on the rise — and they’ve dragged on for years. A ValuePenguin survey in March 2022 found that 84% of Americans feel stressed at least once per week (up from 78% reported in March 2021). In other words: not good.

Featured image of Michelle Nash.

The good news, however, is that we can deliberately design occasional meals, snacks, drinks, and snacks to combat the growing stress present at each turning point in the world. in the modern world, every minute of our second. When it comes to foods to eat to relieve stress, the usual doubts prevail. Fruits, nuts, and adaptogenic herbs are supreme, but adding a few unexpected superfoods to the mix (hint, hint: organ meat) will contribute to a life of live and live happier, healthier lives.

I’ve been teasing the takeaways things long enough. Below, Kim Rose, RDN, shares her expertise on the world of anti-stress foods. Keep reading for her list of the top seven foods to eat to reduce stress, along with key insights into the role diet plays in improving mental and emotional health. Let’s dive in.

To begin with, what foods should we avoid or limit if we want to reduce stress in our lives?

Rose says alcohol and “sugar, high-caffeine drinks” like energy drinks are two of the biggest stressors. “Energy drinks may give you an artificial boost, but they can leave you with unwanted mental health outcomes that cause stress,” the nutritionist notes. Of course, our social and even professional lives are often structured around going out for a drink, ordering wine for dinner, and enjoying an occasional pint of wine in the evening. But according to Rose, adopting a sober, curious lifestyle can help keep stress levels steady (because, after all, a little bit of *good* stress comes with its own health benefits).

If you don’t want to cut out alcohol completely, Rose turns to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about safe, recommended amounts of alcohol. Daily recommendations suggest no more than one serving of alcohol for women and no more than two for men. “Initially, alcohol can release inhibitions and reduce your stress, but it is likely to make you more stressed than it was before drinking,” she says.

What role do adaptogens play in helping us feel calmer and more focused?

A well-known health word, adaptogens have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions for centuries to combat stress. “Think of adaptogens as natural stress regulators,” says Rose. Her top two favorites? Holy basil and ashwagandha. “Divine basil,” she notes, “is an adaptogen that provides a calm background to help us unwind after a long day.”

Possibly anecdotal, ashwagandha is perhaps the adaptogen that has garnered the most attention and interest. Rose says its popularity can be attributed to its stress-relieving magic. “The roots and berries of the ashwagandha plant have been used in traditional medicine for a variety of purposes to help you relax and sleep well to recharge nightly.”

What should consumers keep in mind when shopping for adaptogens?

Unfortunately, as with any health trend, questionable products often flood the market. To make sure you’re buying high-quality, supportive adaptogens, Rose says, look for suppliers with National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification. “NSF certification ensures that products, such as supplements, have been tested for safety and that what is listed on the label is what is in the product.”

For the calmer days to come, Rose emphasizes making sure you’re buying products with the “clinically effective levels of adaptogen mentioned. Here’s another way to make sure you get the benefits of that ingredient — aside from talking to your doctor about its use, the most important thing is “.

Best Foods to Eat for Stress — Plus Drinks and Treatments to Help You Beat Burnout and Find Your Calm

Chrysanthemum tea

Have you enjoyed sipping chamomile tea as a bedtime drink? Not only are you helping to put a stop to your sleepiness, but you’re also actively reducing your stress levels. Rose recommends brewing a cup at night for relaxation or anytime you crave something light throughout the day. Night function to win.

Recipe: Chamomile and jasmine herb cubes


It’s not uncommon for turkeys to lull us to sleep in the middle of a Thanksgiving meal, and according to Rose, it’s all thanks to tryptophan. “Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that our bodies cannot make; Therefore, we must get it from the food we eat. ” She added that tryptophan is the only precursor to serotonin. Sound familiar? That’s right – serotonin is the burnout, feel-good hormone known to reduce depression and regulate worried.

Recipe: Thai Chicken Salad with Spicy Peanut Sauce


Our forever favorite fruit (a berry, if we’re looking specifically) has no limits. Equally praised for being chock-full of skin-supporting biotin as they taste great on a slice of toasted sourdough, avocados are rich in magnesium. Rose adds: “Magnesium is important for managing stress and protecting the body against stress sensitivity.

Recipe: Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Salad with Feta


If they’re not the snack you want to buy yet, it’s time to stock up. “Cashews are the way to go when looking for a tryptophan-rich food that can help you avoid burnout,” Rose suggests. If you don’t eat or crave poultry, cashews are a great plant-based option — and they make for a super creamy cozy spring soup recipe.

Recipe: Green immune-boosting vegetable soup

Organ meat

Now here is the wildcard. Rose recommends adding liver, gizzard, and kidney to your cart on your next trip to the store. “Vitamin B-2, also known as riboflavin, is found in organ meats,” she says. “Riboflavin helps convert carbohydrates into energy that the body can use. It can also help you overcome the physical aspects of burnout. Those benefits are enough to make anyone believe. And if you are still wary, believe that its taste is surprising, extremely delicious. Some might say delicious.

Recipe: Chicken Liver Paté from Wholesome Yum

Black chocolate

Chocolate lovers, unite! This tried-and-true health-promoting staple is a favorite among health-obsessed people — and for good reason. “One, among several benefits,” is that dark chocolate can be a great mood booster, fighting feelings of burnout, Rose notes. Another reason to always say yes to lunch or after dinner. This recipe combines the superfood with avocado to double the sedative effect.

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Butter Truffles from Bird Food

Beverages with adaptive fuel

If you’re new to the (broad) world of adaptogens, one of the easiest ways to reap the stress-relieving benefits is to incorporate them into your drinks. This comforting hot cocoa and cream recipe combines a blend of adaptogens and is perfect for an after-dinner snack. Or, if you’re looking to get your adaptogens in the form of an easy, delicious drink any time of day, Elements Calm is Rose’s favorite. It’s plant-based and she loves that each can contains levels of clinically effective adaptogens. “With 300 milligrams of basil, this beverage helps relieve stress as we get through, or even after a long day.” Exactly what my stressed mind needed.

Recipe: Adaptive Hot Chocolate

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