Written By: Gloria Tsang, RD
Last Updated on:
Eat Yourself Calm with Stress-Busting Foods
These days, it seems like every time you turn around, someone’s talking about stress. With busier and busier schedules, and more and more demands to deal with every day, people are more stressed out than ever. But did you know you can fight the effects of stress just by adding certain stress-busting foods to your diet?
Top 5 Stress-Busting Foods
1. Whole-grain Pasta/Popcorn
Many high-carb foods are already often thought of as “comfort” foods. But did you know that the whole grain versions of these old favorites also contain good carbs, which can boost serotonin (the “feel-good” brain chemical), to help reduce stress? Go for whole-grain pasta, whole-grain bread, brown or wild rice, or popcorn if you need a dose of comfort.
2. Tea (black/green/white)
A warm drink can help soothe frazzled nerves, especially on a cold day. Instead of sipping coffee, which is packed with agitating caffeine, opt for green, white, or black tea instead. They contain half as much caffeine as coffee, and are loaded with beneficial flavonoid compounds. Skip the cream and sugar to make your cup of relaxation calorie-free.
3. Dark Green Vegetables
Just one more reason why your mother always told you to eat your broccoli – it contains high levels of B vitamins, a group of stress-relieving vitamins that can also calm anxiety and depression. Other dark green vegetables like kale, chard, collard greens, bok choy, asparagus, and green beans also fit into this category.
4. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds can take the edge off gnawing afternoon hunger that may itself be stressing you out. Plus, they contain high levels of B vitamins, and magnesium – another mineral also involved in serotonin production. Too many of these tasty snacks can add a lot of extra calories to your diet, though (for example, 15 cashews contain about 180 calories), so stick to not more than 1.5 oz of unsalted nuts or seeds per day
5. Citrus Fruits and Berries
Fruits like oranges, grapefruit, kiwis, and strawberries are all excellent sources of Vitamin C – a potent stress-busting vitamin. Plus, the Vitamin C found in citrus fruits is involved in the production of collagen, which helps keep your skin firm and reduces wrinkling, to help you hide the effects of stress you’ve already lived through.
The Bottom Line
You don’t have to pop a pill or become a yoga master to reduce the amount of stress in your hectic life. Just add these stress-busting foods to your diet and you’ll be well on the way to a calmer existence.
Gloria Tsang is the author of 5 books and the founder of HealthCastle.com, the largest online nutrition network run by registered dietitians. Her work has appeared in major national publications, and she is a regularly featured nutrition expert for media outlets across the country. The Huffington Post named her one of its Top 20 Nutrition Experts on Twitter. Gloria’s articles have appeared on various media such as Reuters, NBC & ABC affiliates, The Chicago Sun-Times, Reader’s Digest Canada, iVillage and USA Today.