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What To Eat For Stress Relief
When you’re stressed, you might be tempted to reach for the chocolate or the ‘comfort foods’ you grew up with – but it seems that there are some better, scientifically-proven foods that will actually help you regulate stress. Although, no one can argue with chocolate and science has shown that it is one of the foods that are helpful. The following list of foods that can relieve the tension work in various ways – some on blood pressure, some on inducing good feelings in the body and others by helping you cope with the stress at hand.
Depending on your diet or what you have available at the time, any one of these foods would be helpful in our quest against stress. Seeing as everyone comes up against stress at one point or another in the course of their life, it’s a good idea to have at least one of these foods on hand in your pantry. Take a look below at some of the foods that can relieve your stress and make your life better.
Let’s face it – chocolate was going to be people’s first go-to whether science proved it was good for us or not. In particular, dark chocolate is very beneficial against the effects of stress as study after study has shown. One study from the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Centre in Southern California found that not only does chocolate make you happy from the sugars it contains but the flavonoids in chocolate, which are potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents, help to boost the brain function by improving mood, memory and even immunity. Dark chocolate is also helpful against inflammation. But, take heed, everything in moderation.
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When it comes to the symptoms of stress, elevated blood pressure is certainly one of them. If you’re finding that your blood pressure has been more and more elevated, whether due to stress or not, consider adding potassium-rich foods to your diet to help balance it. Bananas, for instance, are chock-full of potassium and will do wonders to helping your blood pressure. The good thing is that lowering blood pressure will also have the inverse effect of helping to lower your stress. Win-win!
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A warm beverage seems to do wonders sometime for your body and stress. Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the fact that you have to sip it slowly due to the heat that forces a person to slow down, calm down, and relax. Almost any kind of tea will work in a pinch, but if you’re really looking for stress-relieving properties consider hibiscus tea, which helps with blood pressure, or peppermint tea, which helps to elevate your mood and boost your energy.
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4. Swiss Chard
Cortisol is one of the most prominent, and active, hormones in your body when it comes to stress. In fact, much of the stress that many people experience is due to the release of the cortisol hormone and sometimes the imbalance of it in the body. To help regulate it, magnesium has been found to be an excellent supplement. You don’t have to go out and buy pills either – simply adding magnesium-rich foods to your diet such as swiss chard can help you regulate the cortisol in your body. Of course, for extreme or serious cases, magnesium supplementation might be prescribed anyways by your doctor. In less serious cases, or to manage stress that is temporary, consider adding more magnesium-rich foods to your diet for a while. Figs, legumes, avocadoes and salmon also fit the bill for magnesium.
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5. Fatty Fish
Having just been said, it’s worth it to reiterate that salmon can be a way to relieve stress – but not just with magnesium. The omega-3s in fatty fish, also including tuna and sardines, helps the body to manage the levels of adrenaline which keeps you cool and collected instead of flustered, even if you are under stress.
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There might not be too much scientific research to support this claim, but years of experience from numerous individuals has shown the munching on crunchy vegetables, such as carrots, can help to relieve tension. Maybe it’s the feeling of being able to angrily crunch our way through a vegetable that has us easing our stress. In any case, crisp vegetables such as carrots and celery can help to temporarily alleviate stress and the symptoms of it.
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Many a mother has sworn by the power of a warm glass of milk to get her kids off to bed, but it seems that even adults can harness the power of that beverage. Full of B vitamins, Vitamin D and calcium, milk helps to relieve sore muscles and put them at ease which may be the reason why you feel so relaxed and content after. Also, the warmth of beverage has already been discussed as being a stress-reliever so this becomes a no-brainer. Just stick to low-fat options, or even plant based ones, to not get a lot of calories in right before bed.
8. Whole-Wheat Pretzels
If you’re really out of options, a quick trip to the vending machine can afford you at least one food that can manage your office stress – pretzels. Whole wheat pretzels, to be exact, can help you during periods of stress by triggering the release of serotonin from the carbohydrates in the snack. In fact, any whole wheat snack would work, such as crackers. Just keep this trick in the ’emergency only’ box as high numbers of carbohydrates can be more detrimental than helpful to your body.
When it comes to stress, there are quite a few options out there for people but one of the easiest is to include your stress relief in the foods you eat. Whether it be alleviating high blood pressure, inducing the release of serotonin, the feel-good hormone, for a while in your body or just simply helping to balance the stress hormone, cortisol, foods can be very helpful in your stress management. Consider adding the foods above to your regular diet if you’re usually under stress and also making them part of your dishes whenever your life becomes more stressful.