dark chocolate reduces the stress hormone cortisol

NOURISH

Top foods to relieve stress

  • Asparagus can stabilize your mood
  • Berries help to lower blood pressure and cortisol levels
  • Nutrients in certain foods can reduce stress

Certain foods can enhance your body's ability to handle stress, packed with essential nutrients needed to boost your mental state. Try incorporating some of these foods into your diet to help relieve stress naturally.

Oatmeal

Bowl of oatmeal, a natural stress reliever

This long time comfort food, is a complex carbohydrate. It keeps your blood sugar steady and reduces the level of stress hormones in the brain. Oatmeal helps to relieve stress by releasing the chemical serotonin, which increases relaxation, calmness and creativity.

Pro tip: Skip the refined sugar. Instead make oatmeal with apples and raisins for a touch of sweetness and extra vitamin C. 

Asparagus

Asparagus helps reduce stress

This spring time vegetable is not only high in iron, it is high in folate, one of the many B vitamins. Asparagus stabilizes your mood and helps to reduce depression and anxiety.

Pro tip: This versatile vegetable can be eaten fresh, grilled, steamed , sautéed, or broiled with olive oil.  

Salmon and tuna

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Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These oils keep the stress hormone cortisol under control while regulating adrenaline levels. Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to protect against heart disease, stroke, depression, and may assist in lowering blood pressure.

Pro tip: For the non-fish eaters, flaxseed, walnuts, and spinach are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. 

Berries

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Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries are loaded with anitoxidants and fiber. Yet it's the high amount of Vitamin C, that makes berries a stress fighting food. Vitamin C assist the body to return blood pressure and cortisol to normal levels after they have peaked.

Pro tip: Enjoy them fresh, frozen or mixed into a smoothie. 

Oysters

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While oysters may be best known as an aphrodisiac, they are also a stress relieving food chock full of B vitamins and magnesium. B vitamins help stabilize your mood and relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Magnesium levels tend to drop the more stressed we get, this can lead to fatigue and headaches. Add food rich in magnesium to your diet to fight stress and stress-related diseases, such as heart attacks and high blood pressure. 

Pro tip: B vitamins also aid in memory and relieve premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Dark chocolate

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This sweet treat not only satisfies your taste buds, but helps relieve stress by reducing the level of cortisol in the body.  Dark chocolate is made from the cacao plant, which contains antioxidants that help prevent heart disease. Be aware that some dark chocolate desserts may contain added sugars, so treat yourself in moderation.  

Pro tip: Look for dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher.

Chamomile tea

cup of chamomile sooths stress

Chamomile tea is among the most-well known stress-soothing teas. It helps to calm stomach distress and relieve migraine-type headaches. Chamomile tea decreases stress with its wonderful sedative and muscle relaxing properties.

Pro tip: After a stressful day, sip a cup before bed and peacefully drift off for a goodnight’s sleep.

Stress is part of our daily lives. Remembering to make good choices about the foods you eat will give your body the essential nutrients to keep you staying healthy and functioning at your best. 

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