You can lower stress with exercise, prayer, meditation, and self-care but did you know there are some foods that can help reduce stress, too?
When it comes to reducing stress, it’s important to focus on well-balanced meals that include foods rich in nutrients that support immune health and regulate stress hormones. Here are some of the best foods to help reduce stress:
Best Foods to Eat Right Now to Reduce Stress
- Oily Fish: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce stress hormones like cortisol. Examples include tuna, trout, and sardines. Eat 6-8 oz of oily fish a week.
- Dark Chocolate: Contains flavonoids that help reduce stress hormones and promote a sense of calmness. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content for the most benefits, between 1-2 ounces are the recommended serving sizes.
- Berries: High in antioxidants and vitamin C, which can combat stress and support the immune system. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are top choices.
- Avocados: Packed with healthy fats and potassium, avocados can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress. They also contain B vitamins, which are essential for emotional well-being. I like to add diced avocado to scrambled eggs, a smoothie, or salads.
- Nuts and Seeds: Pistachios, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are excellent sources of stress-reducing nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, and vitamin E. Snack on a handful of nuts or sprinkle chia seeds on top of cereal, yogurt, vegetables or rice dishes.
- Leafy Green Vegetables: Spinach, chard, and other leafy greens are rich in folate, which helps produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and mood regulation.
- Herbal Teas: Chamomile, lavender, and green tea can have a calming effect on the body and mind. They contain compounds that boost relaxation and reduce anxiety.
- Oatmeal: Complex carbs found in oatmeal can stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps induce feelings of well-being and happiness.
- Greek Yogurt: High in protein and calcium, Greek yogurt can help stabilize mood and reduce anxiety. Look for low-sugar options without artificial additives.
- Citrus Fruits: Oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which helps lower cortisol levels and protects against oxidative stress.
Remember that while these foods can contribute to lowering stress, it’s also important to adopt other lifestyle habits like regular exercise, sufficient sleep, and practicing relaxation techniques to manage and reduce stress effectively. Talk to a registered dietitian who can help you incorporate these foods into your meals.