Most of us tend to opt for unhealthy foods when we are stressed. Yes, these foods may make you feel better, but it’s a temporary relief. After the initial pleasure wears off, you may find yourself battling mood swings, irritability, and other unpleasant emotions on top of the stress, courtesy of the sugar, trans fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and whatever other synthetic ingredients you may have consumed. On the other hand, consuming certain healthy foods can actually help to lower stress, stabilize blood sugar, and relieve tension. Below are the best 5 foods that lower stress.
1. Yogurt: Yogurt is one of the foods that lower stress because it is rich in probiotics, which are known as “good” bacteria that live in our gut. Although the role that our microbiome has on stress is not completely understood, small studies have shown that regular use of probiotics may help reduce perceived stress levels and physical stress response.
2. Blueberries: Anthocyanins are the pigments that give berries like blueberries and blackberries their deep color. These antioxidants aid your brain in the production of dopamine, a chemical that is critical to coordination, memory function, and your mood.
3. Dark Chocolate: The flavonoid content in dark chocolate is thought to have a stress-reducing effect. It may potentially reduce mental fatigue and improve cognitive performance. Chocolate has even been referred to as “the new anti-anxiety drug.” One study in the Journal of Psychopharmacology also revealed that drinking an antioxidant-rich chocolate drink equal to about 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate daily felt calmer than those who did not.14
4. Salmon: The animal-based Omega-3 fats EPA and DHA found in salmon, sardines, and anchovies, or supplement form, such as krill oil, play a role in your emotional well-being. One study in Brain Behavior and Immunity showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical students taking omega-3.
5. Soybeans: Soybeans are a good source of two amino acids, tyrosine, and tryptophan, which help produce the feel-good neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. Include roasted soybeans in a trail mix for a simple stress-free snack.
6. Avocado: Avocados provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and folate, and, according to research published in the Nutrition Journal, eating just one-half of a fresh avocado with lunch may satiate you if you’re overweight, which will help prevent unnecessary snacking later.17