If anxiety is ruling your life, you may need to take a look at your diet and implement foods to lower stress into your routine. Anxiety and stress are all part of everyday life; however, certain foods can either help or hurt your anxiety. Food is no longer just for filling your stomach, but also for feeding your brain. Sugar, fat and salt are the three most addictive foods to the human body, much like a drug. If not from the right source, they can not only create a food addiction, but can also seriously increase your anxiety, depression and your weight. You can lower your stress level and save your heart by eating foods to lower stress in place of unhealthier options. Once you’re used to eating the healthy sources of stress-free foods, you’ll no longer turn to that artery-clogging ice cream carton or box of cookies when you’re stressed out.
Avocados are one of the best foods to lower stress. These low-sugar fruits are rich in B vitamins, such as B6 and folate, which naturally lower your stress levels fast. Avocados are considered a superfood for their multitude of health benefits. First, avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats, which have been linked to weight loss due to their ability to control blood sugar and hunger levels. Avocados are also a decent source of protein and an excellent source of fiber. They are even used as a popular detox food because they are high in glutathione, which is an antioxidant the liver uses to filter toxins out of the body. Plus, if you’re stressed out and have bad skin as a result, avocados can help with that too! Avocados are a great remedy for acne and dry skin due to their healthy fats and high amounts of Vitamin E as well. This superfood is one to add to your diet now. Try chopping one over a salad with a tomato, cucumber and black pepper for a delicious easy meal or using one in a smoothie for a thick, creamy texture you won’t even taste.
2 Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a widely popular food right now, and for good reason. Chia seeds are excellent for lowering stress levels. These tiny seeds contain the mineral magnesium plus B vitamins, both of which are critical to lowering stress. The biggest benefit of chia seeds is their incredibly high amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which lower stress fast and help protect the body from harmful fats. Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in foods such as salmon, flax seeds and hemp seeds; however chia seeds have more omega 3 fatty acids per ounce than any other food. Chia seeds are tasteless so they can be added to anything and they are wonderful for thickening oatmeal, smoothies, pudding or tossing into yogurt for a crunchy twist.
3 Maca Powder
Maca is one of my personal favorite foods to lower stress. Maca is an ancient food that is actually a root from Peru. It contains fiber, B vitamins, amino acids and minerals, but its main benefit is that it is an adaptogen. Adaptogenic foods have the ability to balance the body however needed. If hormones are too low or high, maca corrects the issue. If energy is too low, maca will provide quick energy and if anxiety is an issue, maca calms the body. Maca has been said to assist with libido, menopause, fatigue, adrenal fatigue, and more.
While salmon may not seem like a superfood, this popular health food is truly a wonderful food for lowering stress. Salmon is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, protein, magnesium, B vitamins and iron. All of these nutrients lower stress in the body and combat fatigue and weight gain. Salmon can be served a number of ways, and my personal favorite is simply baked with a little lemon, black pepper and coconut oil, and served over a leafy green salad with a side of sweet potato. Try using salmon in place of meat and reap the benefits as you watch your anxiety melt away.
Magnesium is one of the best minerals to lower stress and almonds are one of the best sources of magnesium available in such small amounts. Just one ounce, which is about 20 nuts, is all you need to get your dose of this mineral’s stress-lowering properties. Almonds are rich in fiber, which stabilizes blood sugar levels, and healthy fats, which boost your mood. Almonds are also a beauty food due to their high levels of Vitamin E. Eat an ounce of almonds with an orange or strawberries, which are rich in the B vitamin folate and Vitamin C, for a terrific stress-lowering snack.
6 Quality Dark Chocolate
Whoever said you had to ban chocolate during stress? In fact, you need it! Just be sure to get the good kind with a high cacao content (at least 70% or higher, but 85% or higher is even better). Chocolate is one of the foods highest in magnesium and iron in dark varieties. To make your choice even healthier, replace chocolate bars with raw cacao, which is chocolate that has never been processed through heat. Raw cacao powder, nibs or beans are rich in antioxidants and higher per ounce in antioxidants to lower stress than any food on the planet. I love using raw cacao in smoothies, raw desserts and even mixed with coconut oil as a hard shell topping for homemade treats.
Spinach is one superfood that isn’t losing its popularity anytime soon. Not only is spinach delicious, but versatile too. Spinach is rich in magnesium, that powerful stress busting mineral, and also rich in iron for your energy levels, B vitamins that lower stress and enhance energy, plus lutein, which is great for your eyes. Spinach is such a mild green that it is popular and easy to use anywhere. Spinach is also a great source of plant protein which helps balance blood sugar levels.
Eggs are truly a great food to lower stress and most of us don’t eat enough. While vegans choose not to eat eggs, vegetarians usually do and with good reason. In such a small serving, an egg provides 5 grams of healthy fats, 6 grams of protein, B vitamins, iron, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin D. Eggs are a great food to lower blood sugar levels and stress. Most people note feeling fuller for longer after eating just one or two eggs and insulin levels have been proven to be more stable when eating an egg over many other foods. Eggs are usually inexpensive, available and versatile in the kitchen. For the best benefit, choose farm fresh eggs when you can from a local farm, or buy organic, certified humane eggs that are free of hormones and kept in more humane conditions than those from traditional eggs.
As you’ll see, most foods that lower stress are all about the mineral magnesium, and controlling your blood sugar level. When blood sugar levels are out of whack due to inconsistent meals, or too many carbohydrates in the diet, insulin levels fluctuate and are all over the place. This can also happen when we are stressed by other sources in life too. Balancing blood sugar and managing stress are key to a healthy body. With these 8 foods, you can be sure you have nature’s weapon at your side to beat stress that are just a few bites away. What are your favorite healthy superfoods to lower stress? Share them and spill your secrets!