Food is our friend. It brings us joy, nourishes our souls, and even has the power to relieve stress. At a time where we could all do with a little less stress, here are 18 stress-relieving foods and beverages to add to your diet.
Matcha powder: Matcha is a potent green tea powder that is rich with L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid with powerful stress-relieving properties.
Swiss chard: Just 1 cup of this leafy green vegetable contains 36 percent of the recommended intake for magnesium, which plays a key role in your body’s stress response.
Sweet potatoes: Not only are sweet potatoes delicious. They are also are very nutrient-rich carb sources that can help lower the level of the stress hormone cortisol. Kimchi: When you eat fermented foods like kimchi, your body benefits from special bacteria called probiotics that have been found to support mental health. This is the gut-mind connection at work.
Artichokes: This tasty treat is chock full of prebiotics. In a study, researchers demonstrated that people who ate 5 or more grams of prebiotics per day experienced improved anxiety and depression symptoms. In addition, prebiotic-rich diets may reduce your risk of stress.
Organ meats: Vegetarians may not be happy to read this, but organ meats such as the heart and kidney of animals are an excellent source of B vitamins, which are essential for stress control.
Eggs: Whole eggs are packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants needed for a healthy stress response.
Shellfish: Mussels, clams, and other types of shellfish are high in amino acids like taurine, which researchers have found is essential for regulating the stress response.
Acerola cherry powder: Various studies have linked high vitamin C levels with elevated mood and lower levels of depression. And it so happens to be that acerola cherries are one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C.
Fatty fish: Fatty fish like mackerel and herring are incredibly rich in omega-3 fats and vitamin D, nutrients that have been shown to help reduce stress levels and improve mood.
Parsley: This nutritious herb is full of antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation, which is often high in those with chronic stress.
Garlic: It may make your breath a bit stinky, but garlic is high in sulfur compounds that help increase levels of glutathione, which is part of your body’s defense line against stress.
Tahini: This sesame seed-based spread is a rich source of the amino acid L-tryptophan, which is a precursor of the mood-regulating neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Research has found that a diet high in tryptophan may help boost mood and ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Sunflower seeds: When you eat sunflower seeds, you benefit from vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a powerful antioxidant and is essential for mental health.
Broccoli: This cruciferous vegetable is rich in sulforaphane, a sulfur compound that has neuroprotective properties and may offer calming and antidepressant effects.
Chickpeas: In a study of over 9,000 people, those who followed a Mediterranean diet rich in plant foods like legumes experienced better mood and less stress than those who followed a typical Western diet rich in processed foods.
Chamomile tea: This medicinal herb has been used since ancient times as a natural stress reducer and as a way to promote sleep.
Blueberries: These berries are rich in flavonoid antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects that may help reduce stress.