When dealing with stress, many people will turn to food for the wrong reasons and fill up on food that has little to no benefit. Overcoming anxiety or stress without prescription narcotics involves various lifestyle changes, including diet. Some foods increase stress levels in the body and by choosing the right types of food an individual can see a drastic change in overall mood and mental health. Various factors can determine anxiety levels and stress, but here are six foods that can help to calm the mind and provide useful anti-stress benefits. These are not typical “comfort foods” such as take out or large amounts of sugar, but rather, simple foods that can be added to any diet.
Eggs are the most adaptable food in this slideshow and can be served in many different ways such as fried, in smoothies, on toast with bacon, or combined with rice, just to name a few. Combining eggs, salmon, and whole-grain toast is an ideal way to start the day and a great mood booster in the morning. Lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and reducing the risk of developing a tumor are all known benefits of the simple egg. As well as promoting healthy hair and nails eggs can also help an individual lose weight and reduce oxidative stress in the bloodstream. A deficiency in B vitamins can be associated with higher rates of psychological distress and anxiety, and fortunately, eggs are a great food that replenishes these mood enhancing vitamins. Crack an egg every morning, and a difference in overall mood and stress levels will certainly be noticed.
Avocados are a great source of vitamin E which protects the skin and body from free-radical damage. A study in the United States of 17,500 people found that those who ate avocado on a regular basis were significantly healthier than individuals who did not consume the fruit. The participants in this study who ate avocado were also more likely to weigh less and have a healthier BMI than those who did not. Almonds are also a great source of vitamin E and are great in salads, desserts, or even by themselves. Spinach is well known for its protein content, but it also has a high level of vitamin E. However this vitamin may be consumed, the protection it offers the body is unmatched, and this will leave an individual feeling confident of their health, and this confidence can reduce overall levels of stress or anxiety.
Green tea has been consumed for centuries in countries such as China and India, but in modern times many Westerners also find green tea a soothing daily beverage. A recent study in Japan of over 42,000 people found that consuming 5 cups of green tea per day can reduce stress levels and psychological distress by up to 20%. Green tea is full of polyphenols which are a chemical compound that relieves tension as well as having anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to soothe irritation.
Green tea can even be applied to the skin and face for a therapeutic relaxation aid that will also take good care of skin leaving it hydrated and looking good. Green tea can be served hot, iced, or even in latte-style which has become increasingly popular over the last few years. The beverage also can reduce the risk of developing heart disease and can even reduce cancer risk.
Plain Greek Yogurt
Greek Yogurt is an excellent source of probiotics which are live bacteria that assists the body in fighting disease and preventing harmful bacteria from growing within the body. Yogurt is also high in calcium which is essential to maintaining healthy bones and teeth. Adding a serving of plain yogurt to a daily routine is very simple, and the benefits of yogurt are not just seen in an individual's physical health. This snack is also high in potassium, and low levels of potassium in the body can be associated with mood levels and even depression. Plain yogurt is a perfect bedtime snack for those who get hungry before sleeping and adding berries gives a boost of antioxidants too. A serving of plain yogurt per day will likely leave a person feeling happier and healthier than ever before.
Whole Grain Carbohydrates
Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and certain types of bread are the ideal source for this kind of carbohydrate that can alleviate stress and anxiety. Whole grains are easily added to a diet, and in most cases, it is as simple as substituting white rice for brown rice. Whole grains are loaded full of folate which helps promote a stronger memory as well as keeping a person alert and happy. Various studies have shown that higher levels of folate within an individual can contribute to a smaller number of mood swings and distress. The relationship of folate to antidepressant medication is somewhat foggy, but what is known is that in some people, folate can affect the strength of these drugs and for some, this may be a good thing. These grains can also lower an individual's risk of heart disease by up to 15%.
Fatty acids, such as Omega-3, can help to hydrate the skin and body, giving the complexion a healthier appearance as well as helping the body perform more efficiently. These fatty acids can be found in supplements such as fish oil pills or liquid, but are also naturally found in food such as flaxseed, walnuts and fatty fish such as salmon, anchovies, or sardines. These types of fish are also high in protein and can improve overall cognitive function. Salmon is also high in vitamin B12 which is a known for its mood-improving abilities and individuals with low levels of B12 are more likely to suffer depression or anxiety. Foods that have a high fatty acid content are often called superfoods, and it is easy to see why.