Stress causes damage to your body. Busy schedules, work deadlines, and other environmental factors promote stress and reduce the natural defenses of the body. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to combat stress. Healthy eating has a positive effect in reducing stress in a natural and effective way. Here are the top 5 foods that reduce stress.
Blueberries are a proven stress buster. They are crammed with antioxidants that revive and rejuvenate damaged cells in the body and relieves stress. Blueberries neutralise free radicals in the body and prevents cell damage. These small but powerful berries also improve the body’s response to fight stress and anxiety. Besides, blueberries also improve immunity, which again, plays a vital role in reducing stress.
2. Dark chocolate
This could be an ultimate delight for chocolate lovers. Not all chocolates have the power to combat stress in an effective way, but dark chocolate has a relaxing effect on your body. Studies reveal that consumption of dark chocolate shows a reduction in cortisol – the stress hormone, thereby relieving stress. The cocoa has a high amount of antioxidants that lowers blood pressure and relaxes the blood vessels. For a calming effect, go for chocolates that have over 70 % cocoa, say experts.
Avocados contain glutathione which is a powerful antioxidant. In addition, avocado has oleic acid – a monounsaturated fatty aid believed to be associated with reduced inflammation. The fruit also increases satiety and you feel more satisfied. This reduces stress and promotes better health. Since it is high in fats, consider limiting your intake by adding just half an avocado in your lunch.
Nuts have always been a great snack, but cashews have an added advantage. The crunchy nut is packed with proteins and omega-3s that reduce cravings and make you feel full. They are rich in zinc that helps in preventing stress. Zinc deficiency is one of the major causes of stress and anxiety. So, replenishing your zinc stores may help in reducing stress. Besides, they can also be a great snack for those trying to lose weight due to its high protein content.
Eating salmon has many heath benefits. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. Studies show that it helps in reducing the stress hormone cortisol as well as adrenaline and induces a calming effect. People who consume salmon on a regular basis have shown a reduced level of stress as compared to those who do not. In addition to it, salmon is also a great food for your heart.
Here are some delicious ways to incorporate these foods into your diet.
Baked salmon with cashews, lemon and parmesan
This is a really simple, light and super healthy and quick meal for weekdays. Just crush or blend the nuts, smear mayo on the fish, add the topping and bake. Make your favourite salad as a side. The topping keeps the fish moist while adding crunch. Great for summer!
Fresh salmon slices
Crushed (or blended ) cashew nuts
Chopped herbs (optional)
Place 1-2 slices of lemon per piece of salmon in a baking dish. Place salmon slices on top of the lemon (the lemon flavours the salmon and keeps it moist).
Spread mayonnaise over the top of each piece of salmon. Then add some more lemon for flavour.
Mix breadcrumbs, crushed cashews, herbs (optional) and parmesan cheese. Add mixture to the top of each piece of salmon.
Place pieces of butter in the dish and sprinkle olive oil over the salmon.
Bake at 180°C for approximately 20-25 minutes or until the salmon is cooked. Its that easy!
Turkish bread, salmon and cream cheese grilled
Slices of Turkish bread
Tinned or fresh cooked salmon
Cottage cheese or cream cheese
Place salmon, cream or cottage cheese, sundried tomatoes, pesto and mozzarella on Turkish bread and put under the grill. Remove when cheese has melted and enjoy.
Blueberries – fresh and frozen
When buying blueberries organic is always best. If you can’t get these then ensure you wash any berries in vinegar and water.
Alternatively buy frozen organic and add to Greek yoghurt for a quick and healthy breakfast loaded with antioxidants and probiotics for good gut health. How good does this smoothie look?
Apple and Blueberry Salad
Think blueberries, apples, strawberries and pear with raw or toasted nuts. Add ricotta, blue cheese or parmesan.
Olive oil is a tasty and healthy dressing and adds omega 3 to a dish already filled with fibre, antioxidants and vitamins.
Prepare extra salad and add a protein on the side from your evening meals. Place in a container the night before and grab it on your way out the door in the morning.
Avocado – Give yourself a brain boost on the weekend
Start the day with a protein and omega 3 rich breakfast. Here I’ve used carrot and zucchini fritters . Alternatively use a good sourdough or seeded bread and add avocado, fried or raw tomatoes and spinach leaves and top with eggs done your favourite way.
Pour melted dark chocolate onto a lined baking tray. Sprinkle with goji berries or whatever you like. Try chopped honey candied ginger or chilli for a bit of sweetness with a kick! Or you can dip fresh or dried fruit in the melted dark chocolate. Even a small piece of plain dark chocolate is delicious (although it might be a little bitter if you’re used to milk chocolate).
Whether you have them as snacks or incorporate them into your new favourite recipes, make sure to include blueberries, dark chocolate, avocados, cashew nuts and salmon into your diet to help your body cope with stress.
You may also want to take a look at the best stress relief technique.
The information in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical, health, specific nutritional or other advice. You should obtain professional advice from a medical, health or other practitioner in relation to your personal circumstances.
Jenny is a working woman, seeker of health and peace on earth.