Ever feel stressed out? Stupid question right? Stress is basically the driving factor in my life. Not all stress is bad stress – for example the stress of deadlines means I have a job, and the stress of getting my kids where they need to be every day means I have an active family. But it is stress nonetheless and it does take it’s toll after awhile. Lately I’ve been feeling a little burned out and just not as motivated as I’d like to be, but I can’t just stop doing all the things that need to be done. I can’t miss deadlines just because I don’t feel like it and other obligations still have to be met. As much as I’d like to shut down, curl up on the couch and binge watch Netflix every day, I just can’t so I have to look to other ways to manage stress. Exercise, meditation, and medication are all options, but what you eat can also make a difference. There are several types of foods that offer natural stress relief.
A great lunch or dinner option, tuna is high vitamins B6 and B12 which are known to fight stress. Tuna is also a good low-fat protein source. If you use the canned variety and mix it with mayo for tuna salad, choose a low-fat variety.
I love having almonds handy to snack on. They keep me busy and keep me from munching on other not so good for you snacks. Almonds are a good source of Vitamin B2 and E, as well as magnesium and zinc. They are a higher fat option, but most of the fat is unsaturated, you know the good fats you hear about so in moderation they’re definitely on the okay list.
One of my personal favorite veggies, Asparagus is high in folic acid, which can help stabilize your mood. Feeling a little out of sorts lately? Asparagus may be able to help bring you back to your happy place.
People go back and forth about how healthy or unhealthy beef is. As with anything I think moderation is the key and beef is a great dinner option for a stressed-out family. Beef contains high levels of zinc, iron, and B vitamins, all said to help stabilize your mood. It’s a very nutrient-rich meat and if you’re worried about calories and fat, just ask the butcher for a lean cut and you can have the best of both worlds.
Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Cottage cheese is high in protein and calcium but there are really only two types of people – ones that love cottage cheese (I fall into this category) and those that despise it (that would be my husband). Need a little more flavor? Try mixing the cottage cheese with a fruit that is high in vitamin C like oranges. Vitamin C plays a role in fighting stress because it’s an antioxidant, plus they’re a delicious and filling combo.
Milk is high in antioxidants and vitamins B2 and B12, as well as protein and of course calcium. Have a bowl of whole-grain cereal and low-fat milk in the morning to start your day with a stress-fighting breakfast. I for one am always happier when I’m not hungry.
Blueberries are also rich in natural antioxidants and they offer a high-fiber, low-calorie fruit option that is also rich in stress-fighting vitamin C. Mix them in yogurt, cottage cheese or just eat them on their own.
Cornflakes or Crispy Rice Cereal
Although they aren’t low in sugar, cornflakes and crispy rice cereal are fortified with B vitamins and folic acid to help reduce stress. These are great for breakfast, but also as an afternoon snack.
You’ve probably heard that the tryptophan in turkey is to blame for that food coma on Thanksgiving. I for one always look forward to my Thanksgiving naps. The amino acid, found in protein-containing foods, helps produce serotonin, so tryptophan may have a calming effect.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, helping you keep calm and happy. Who knew? Bring on the salads!
So there you have it. Sounds like trying to stick to a relatively healthy diet is good for more than just maintaining a healthy weight. It really may be the key to happiness! What’s your fave stress-buster, food or otherwise? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!