Eating healthy and calming foods can help improve your life in many ways. Find out which ones you should incorporate into your diet today that not only taste great but also help you relax and reduce the symptoms of stress.
We all know that food can help us relax, but not all foods are created equal!
When we are stressed out, or anxious life can feel chaotic and out of control. If your mind feels frazzled all day long, it can be hard to focus on what you need to do at work or home. Stress can also disrupt our sleep cycle, which will affect our mood the next day.
Stress is a state of mental and physical tension that results from demanding situations. When we are stressed, our bodies enter the fight or flight mode, which releases adrenaline into the system causing physiological changes such as increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and poor decision-making. This blog post will discuss some of the most calming foods that can trigger a soothing response in your body and how they affect you.
Foods to avoid when you want to lead a healthy lifestyle
First, let's take a quick look at the best foods to avoid to help reduce stress. This type of food includes high fat, sugary, processed, fried, salty snacks. These foods increase blood pressure and heart rate, leading to feeling stressed out.
Avoid drinking too much coffee or caffeinated tea. Caffeine increases cortisol levels, which causes increased anxiety and decreased sleep quality because cortisol disrupts REM sleep cycles in our brain.
Next, artificial sweeteners like Splenda have also increased cortisol levels when consumed with sugar-containing drinks like soda or fruit juice.
Lastly, alcohol! Alcohol typically contains a high amount of sugar and calories, leading to weight gain or fat storage in our bodies and diabetes if consumed too often. This can add to our mental stress and the physical stress on our organs.
We want to know about YOUR favorite calming food! Below, we will discuss a few of the top calming foods you can add to your diet. When you're done reading, let us know below this article—we're always interested in discovering new ingredients or recipes that help people feel better when they need it most.
Know which food can make your body happy
Do you find that your day is always stressful? Modern society has many stressors, including technology overload, work demands, financial struggles, and commuting, to name just a few. One of the easiest ways to relieve stress is eating foods that help us manage it more effectively.
These top foods can do just that:
The well-loved, calming blueberry helps anxiety sufferers relax and improve their mood! Blueberries, strawberries, and other berries contain high levels of antioxidants which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals due to their essential nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin E. They also contain serotonin which can boost moods while reducing anxiety levels and depression symptoms. Ingesting them throughout the day can be a great way to keep those feelings at bay, all while enjoying the many health benefits of these little wonders.
It's no surprise that oats make this list as one of the top foods that can relieve stress, considering they're often touted as magical shut-yourself-away from real food. They're calming, soothing, and even have calming anti-inflammatory properties, making them an ideal calming meal any time of day or night!
Salmon also has the benefit of being able to be cooked or eaten raw if it's of high grade (like in sushi or poke bowls). Salmon is calming, but it's also soothing to your arteries. High levels of omega-three fatty acids found in salmon decrease cortisol levels (the stress hormone).
Almonds are full of magnesium which is calming, yet they're also a very rich food that can make you feel more satisfied without reaching for more filling snacks. Bake these healthy snacks in the oven to enhance their crunch without losing their benefits.
5. Dark Chocolate
While most chocolate is a fan-favorite treat, only the chocolates with a higher level of coca help calm the body, with much lower sugar levels. It's one of the most calming foods out there, containing antioxidants that will fight cell damage, and is rich in magnesium that helps relax both muscles and nerves.
Walnuts contain omega-3s and antioxidants such as melatonin (a hormone that helps regulate sleep) and L-theanine (which has helped reduce feelings of stress).
7. Grass-fed Beef
Grass-fed beef can be found at the top of any calming food list. That's because it contains large amounts of tryptophan, a calming amino acid that produces serotonin and melatonin (another calming neurotransmitter). Also, unlike grain-fed beef, this option has more healthy fats like omega-three fatty acids.
The next time you're stressed out, reach for a juicy watermelon. After all, stress is a fight-or-flight response, and watermelon helps regulate those adrenaline levels. Watermelons also keep blood pressure down, reducing tension headaches!
Bonus Stress Reducers:
Spray some calming lavender water on your pillows, rub calming lavender oil into pressure points on your body, or light relaxing candles to enhance any of these calming properties.
Water is one of the simplest calming things that we can put in our bodies to relieve stress. It's so important to drink enough water every day but even more now that it will help regulate cortisol levels, flush out toxins and nourish your body (and mind) at the same time!
Studies show that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties, making people more resilient to stress over time. (Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant)
Ever since turmeric went mainstream, everyone has been talking about its magical calming properties. Eating this calming spice is known to increase the calming neurotransmitter serotonin. Neurotransmitters are responsible for mood regulation and can reduce stress as well.
Read this article to learn more about calming spices that you can add to your calming foods in your next meal.
Food is a powerful tool, choose wisely!
Growing evidence suggests that your diet plays a vital role in managing stress. If you are looking for a way to reduce the symptoms of everyday life, consider how what you eat can affect your mood and state of mind. The foods listed above may help with this process by providing nutrients like omega-3s or magnesium, which reduce anxiety levels.
We hope this blog post helped provide some guidance about eating for stress relief and which foods can help combat it. Research from Harvard University has shown that certain types of food may help reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, hostility, or confusion and improve your mood if eaten regularly. You don't have to go with what's popular either - experiment until you find what works for you! Stress reduction will help rewire your brain in positive ways to help you lead a healthier life (Stress reduction correlates with structural changes in the amygdala).
Stay tuned for future blog posts to explore other aspects of healthy living like exercise, sleep habits, mental health practices. In the meantime - enjoy your healthy meals!
What type of food do YOU eat when it comes time to beat those negative emotions? Let us know below! We're looking forward to hearing about how these specific foods helped change YOUR life too!