Awesome Foods That Help You Reduce Stress

January 17, 2019


Have a rough day at work? Kids making you crazy? Just stressed out in general? Everyone has had times in their lives when stress is an ever-present reality. But did you know you can actually combat stress and its effects by choosing the right foods? It’s true.

While some of the following items may not seem like comfort food, they all have stress-busting properties that can help you feel relaxed and at ease in no time.

1. Green Tea

Who doesn’t love to curl up with a good book and a cup of tea? While tea itself can be relaxing, if it’s green tea in that cup you’re doing your stress level even more of a favor.

This mild-tasting drink is full of antioxidants, which are known to reduce stress inside your body. But antioxidants alone aren’t what make this drink so soothing.

In addition to antioxidants, green tea also has an amino acid called theanine. This superpower of amino acids can help you relax and lower your stress levels, helping you stay well.

Research has shown how theanine makes the brain produce alpha waves, the same ones that are present when a person is relaxed. But green tea still has one more relaxing trick up its sleeve to help you feel your best and beat stress. It also alters the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that positively affect your mood.

Not only that, but green tea is known to have properties that speed up weight loss and clear up your skin, as well. While green tea capsules are sold, straight green tea in a cup is the best and tastiest way to get the benefits you want. All in all, green tea is a delicious way to reduce stress, and a whole lot cheaper than therapy.


2. Avocado

Avocado is a power food that is good for a number of different things. Making a paste out of it and using it on your skin can increase moisture and help your skin become clear.

Using avocado oil on your hair can help it become silky. And, of course, it’s delicious and provides your daily does of good fats. But there’s one use for avocado that many people aren’t aware of.

In addition to making delicious guacamole and giving your skin a whole new life, avocado has been known to have stress relieving properties since it contains nutrients such as vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene.

If you’ve ever used Vitamin E to minimize bags under your eyes or reduce swelling, you’ve seen this relaxing effect in action, just in a different way. Avocado also has glutathione, which blocks the absorption of certain fats that can cause oxidative damage. You can include avocado into your diet in a variety of ways.

Of course you can blend it to make guacamole, add it to burgers and sandwiches, top salads with it, and even use it to make your own salad dressings. If you don’t like the taste of avocado, though, you can always take avocado oil or extract supplements and still obtain some of the stress-reducing benefits.

However, raw avocado is the best way to obtain these benefits.


3. Fish

If you’re a fan of fish, chances are you’re a bit more relaxed than the rest of society. Why? Fish has many properties that make it an amazing super food for relaxation.

Fish, especially tuna and salmon, contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Most people are aware that omega-3 fatty acids are good for the body, especially for skin and joints, but there’s another reason this acid is so good for you.

This substance has been shown to reduce and prevent spikes of stress hormones, and is linked to reducing the risk of diseases such as heart disease and depression.

Since high stress levels have been shown to correlate with a higher risk of heart disease and depression it’s no wonder that this food can lower all three. Fish is also a great source of protein which can help build muscle after a workout, so it makes for a great post-workout snack that will heal your muscles and reduce stress at the same time.

If you don’t like to sit down and eat fish by itself you can also add it to salads and soups. By adding it with other foods you won’t notice the fish as much, but you’ll still be able to obtain the benefits. If you do love fish, though, try cooking some salmon with avocado and rice. That’s two stress-boosting foods in one delicious meal.


4. Carrots

If you’ve ever seen a dog chew on a bone you know that it certainly can have a relaxing effect. But have you ever wondered why? The physical chomping actually releases stress.

While humans may not reach for the closest Nylabone to reduce stress, we still have our own version.

Carrots! Munching on carrots allows you to physically release tension, which is a great way to reduce overall stress, as well. But relieving stress is far from the only benefit you can obtain by eating these orange health boosters.

Researchers have also linked carrots to improving your vision, protecting the skin from sun damage, and preventing cancer and heart disease. And with all those health benefits chances are knowing your health is in good hands will lead to even further peace of mind. Studies have shown that when you eat fruits and vegetables you should eat the rainbow.

In other words, eat a variety of colors. Every color in fruits and vegetables shows you what nutrients are in the food, so if you’re low on orange, carrots are a great stress-relieving option. So grab a carrot and munch your way to lower stress levels, better vision, great skin, and a healthier heart.


5. Milk

Sure, milk is great for pouring over a bowl of cereal or drinking as a snack in its chocolate form. But milk does a lot more than taste great and make a wonderful partner for cereal.

Drinking milk, particularly warm milk, can help reduce stress. A glass of warm milk has been known for centuries as a soothing drink before bed.

While many people thought it was just something their grandparents said would help, it turns out that there might actually be scientific proof that having the long-touted cup of warm milk at night can ease stress.

The calcium in milk eases mood swings and anxiety. But the soothing benefits of milk don’t stop there. This white wonder drink also has B-vitamins, vitamin D, and proteins, which help relieve tense muscles. As for the warm part, it seems that anything warm is soothing.

If you just can’t get your head around drinking warm milk you can still obtain all the stress-relieving benefits of it by drinking it cold. Some people have an issue with drinking straight milk whether it’s hot or cold. If that’s you, you can always use milk to create a smoothie, add it to a cup of tea, or mix it with something else that allows you to consume it comfortably.

Any added milk to your diet is a benefit and will help you relieve stress.


6. Nuts

There has been a lot of talk about nuts in health news for as long as health news has existed. One minute they’re the best thing you can eat, the next minute someone’s saying they’re full of fat and not good for you.

However, most scientists agree that the health benefits of nuts are numerous. But most of the time you don’t hear about nuts as a stress-relieving food. The good news?

They really are great for reducing your stress levels. Nuts help prevent sickness in a stressed body by boosting your immune system with nutrients such as zinc.

An improved immune system relieves stress because your body doesn’t have to work as hard to fight off the viruses and bacteria it comes in contact with every day. Not only that, but nuts contain B vitamins, which are known to prevent surges of stress that can lead to depression. Want to take care of your heart as well as your mind?

Pistachios, almonds, or walnuts have also been shown to lower cholesterol. Whether you eat them in a trail mix or have them raw by themselves, nuts are a great way to add nutrients to your diet and relieve stress at the same time. Nuts can also be used as a protein source for those who are vegan or vegetarian, so eat up and mellow out.


7. Blueberries

Everyone loves blueberry muffins or pies, but eating blueberries just as they are is also a delicious way to enjoy this beautiful and delicious fruit.

But why do blueberries make you feel so good? Is it just because they’re beautiful and bright? Is it because they tend to mark the beginning of spring?

As it turns out there might be a scientific reason behind the comforting effect that blueberries tend to have. Blueberries are known to have extremely high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C.

Most people relate vitamin C to cold season because of its amazing ability to boost the immune system and help fight off colds. But as it turns out, vitamin C is good for stress reduction, as well. Not only can it help reduce stress you already have, but consuming vitamin C can also help you handle stressful situations with more calm and composure.

Scientists conducted a study in which two groups of people, one that had vitamin C beforehand and one that hadn’t, were placed in high stress situations. They found out that the vitamin C group maintained much lower levels of cortisol and blood pressure, showing how they controlled the stress better.

So if you’re trying to relax and boost your immune system at the same time, then grab a handful of blueberries and do your mind and body a favor.


8. Beef

Hamburgers get a bad rep these days, and steak is often seen as the path to heart disease. But if you choose lean beef, you can actually help reduce your stress and boost your nutrient levels, as well.

Most people see beef as a treat, or a food they don’t eat that often. However, what most people do not realize is that beef, especially the grass-fed type, is chock full of nutrients.

You’ll recognize some of these stress-reducing nutrients from the items listed above.

Beef has vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, as well as healthy omega-3 fatty acids, all of which have been shown to relieve stress and reduce the risk of disease and depression. While many stress-reducing foods have one or two of these nutrients, beef has all of them combined into one tasty meal.

Of course you still need to be aware of how you’re preparing your beef so that you can also avoid the heart-related issues that can come with eating fatty or fried beef. Lean, grass-fed beef that is grilled is your best option. However, as with any food, consuming beef in moderation is a good option.

If you are a meat-eater, try alternating between fish and beef since both have stress-relieving properties. That way you can protect your heart and still get the de-stressing benefits of each food.


9. Asparagus

Although it’s grown in the winter and has a season that extends through spring in most areas, asparagus tends to be seen as a winter food. But no matter when you can find it in season, you should definitely stock up.

Asparagus has plenty of wonderful benefits, yet asparagus is one of the most under-eaten vegetables in the world, and at first glance you may be able to understand why.

Many people are put off by their odd spear-like shape. Others just aren’t sure they’ll like it. And if your first experience with asparagus happened to be with under-cooked asparagus, chances are you didn’t enjoy it.

But if you’re looking to decrease your stress levels, you might want to give this green goodie another go. These strange vegetables are incredibly high in folate, a B vitamin that reduces oxidative stress. In fact, a single serving of asparagus has more than two-thirds of your daily value of folate. The best part about asparagus is that it goes with almost anything.

You can incorporate it with everything from chicken to fish to rice and more. Perhaps combine it with some lean beef for a super stress-relieving meal. Asparagus is not only easy to incorporate into any meal cooked, it’s also a healthy snack raw with some ranch dressing or hummus.

Raw asparagus is not everyone’s cup of tea, and you’ll want to make sure you pick out very small and tender asparagus if you’re going to have it right from the grocery shelf. But no matter how you cook it, be ready for some serious stress busting.


10. Chocolate

You may have dreamed about the day that you’d find out chocolate was good for you. Maybe you’ve always thought there was something in that delicious food that was healthy.

As it turns out, your dreams have come true and you may have been right. Chocolate, the stereotypical go-to bad day food, has been scientifically shown to actually reduce stress.

Almost everyone has had that moment at the end of a bad day when they reach for chocolate in their favorite form.

Ice cream or candy bar, truffle or box of chocolates, it seems that chocolate can cure just about any bad mood or stressful situation. While most people think this is just because of the sugar rush that occurs, there may actually be some scientific proof that chocolate has stress-relieving components.

Dark chocolate, especially, has been shown to have more calming antioxidants than some fruit juices. Having a few squares each day will definitely improve your mood. But before you buy out the candy aisle, keep in mind that, like everything else, chocolate should be consumed in moderation.

Chocolate still has quite a bit of sugar and caffeine, so for those who are sensitive to either substance consuming this stress-relieving snack should be a rare occasion, otherwise it might have the opposite effect.