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What Are Foods That Decrease Stress And Anxiety?

With everything going on in our world with the Coronavirus, paying attention to our diet with foods that decrease stress and boost our immune system and protect it are top of mind right now. Unfortunately, with the explosion of the media, no matter if it is on TV, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. it seems like we cannot escape the Coronavirus, and this is increasing stress and anxiety in many people, filling us with fear. When people become fearful, it is during these times that we turn to food for comfort. We know there are foods that decrease stress and anxiety and are important for our overall health. Though this is a new, widespread virus, there are many ways to protect ourselves and our families naturally. It can all start with what we are putting on our plates.

8 Foods that Decrease Stress to Add to Your Diet

Salmon, foods that decrease stress
Photographer: Caroline Attwood | Source: Unsplash

When many people think of diet and stress, many may not make a correlation, but believe it or not there are certain foods that will help decrease depression, stress and anxiety.

1. Fatty fish

Some of these foods include fatty fish, like salmon. These foods contain essential omega fatty acids, like EPA and DHA, which promote healthy brain function and reduce inflammation. Fatty fish also boosts high concentrations of B vitamins, vitamin D and the antioxidant selenium, which fights oxidative stress.

2. Pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin seeds are another beneficial food source as it is high in magnesium, B vitamins and zinc, all of which play a major role in brain health. Magnesium is especially important as it is involved in more than 600 reactions in the body, including mood and brain functions.

3. Chia seeds

Deficiencies of magnesium have been linked with depression, which tends to reduce levels of serotonin in the brain and increase the cortisol stress response. Also in the seed family, are Chia seeds. This power food is a great source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid. It has been found to keep blood sugar levels stable. Just like its counterpart, chia seeds are high in magnesium, selenium and many beneficial plant compounds that have been linked to reduced inflammation in the brain and body.

4. Avocado

Another food that is beneficial in healthy fats is avocados. Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fats, the good fats, as well as folate and magnesium. These are brain boosting minerals. Additionally, avocados contain vitamins C and E, antioxidants that help counteract oxidative stress and reduce inflammation in the body. The healthy fats in avocado can also help increase satiety after meals, preventing overeating. As many may be at home during this time, this can also prevent eating if you get bored.

5. Green veggies

We have always been told that eating “your greens” was good for you. While science has proved this repeatedly, especially when talking about brain health, and really are excellent foods that decrease stress. Greens like spinach, kale, mustard and collard greens, are high in vitamin C, magnesium and plant compounds. These are highly active in helping protect your cells from damage. Everyday our cells are exposed to many toxins from our environment. By incorporating healthy foods into our diet, especially those with high levels of antioxidants this will protect us from inside and out.

6. Turmeric

Tumeric has exploded in the past few years in the healthcare field. The benefits of tumeric help with multiple health conditions. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has a plethora of promising research about its health benefits. Curcumin is linked to lowering anxiety and reducing inflammation. Research has also found that curcumin helps increase DHA synthesis in the brain and liver, which can have anti-anxiety and calming effects. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential to brain, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and immune health. It is definitely one of those foods that decrease stress.

7. Green tea

Green tea, and specifically, matcha, contains several antioxidants as well as the amino acid, theanine. Theanine has been linked to calmness and relaxation and may increase the production of serotonin and dopamine, also known as the feel-good hormones. Matcha naturally will provide a boost in sustained energy. With all the benefits of matcha, give this immune boosting and protecting beverage as try.

8. Yoghurt

When discussing about the immune system, we must talk about the gut. Our gut is the centerfold of our immune system. If our gut if unhealthy, then our immune system is not healthy and not upholding to its full potential. Foods that contribute to keeping good bacteria in our gut is probiotics and fermented foods, especially Greek Yogurt. In addition to vitamin B6 and vitamin D, Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics. Probiotics feed the good gut bacteria. Research shows gut bacteria impacts mood levels. This was specifically shown in one study that found those who consumed a mixture of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria strains, the main strains in yogurt, for eight straight weeks experienced less depressive symptoms, reduced inflammation and reduced serum insulin levels compared to the control group.

Focus on Your Health has Rewards

Woman red flowers - stress free
Photographer: Allef Vinicius | Source: Unsplash

We are all going to experience stress and anxiety, but how we respond is highly important. Starting with your diet is a great first step. Ensure you include these foods that decrease stress in your diet. Avoid the temptation of sugar. For many of us sugar is our go-to when we are stressed, but sugar will only make your symptoms worse.

It is time to put down the cookies, brownies and chips and start consuming foods that have more nutritional content. Consuming these healthy foods will not only benefit you physically but mentally. Support and protect your entire body and provide it what it needs to stay strong. Your immune system will thank you.

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