Stress is the term we use to describe the experience of our bodies when responding to a perceived threat (whether it be physical, emotional or social). Our sympathetic nervous system kicks in and we experience the “fight-or-flight” response. Heart rate increases, blood pressure goes up and our stress hormones, like cortisol, increase.
Being in a state of stress over an extended period of time is not healthy, however. One way to manage stress is by eating right.
5 Foods to Reduce Stress
- Dark Leafy Greens – Greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard are rich in folate and vitamins A and C, necessary for the production of serotonin and dopamine, powerful antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory agents. UltraNourish, a superfood shake, contains 1,450 mg of a powerful green blend, which includes kale.
- Fish – Omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to reduced anxiety and stress in studies. Avocados are also a great source of omega-3s.
- Chocolate – Do we really need to explain this one? Neurotransmitters in the brain make biting into chocolate pure pleasure!
- Complex Carbohydrates – Whole-grains like quinoa, whole-grain breads, pastas, and even old-fashioned oatmeal, all help the brain produce serotonin, necessary for managing your mood.
- Citrus – Oranges and other citrus fruits contain high levels of vitamin C, which helps lower blood pressure as well as levels of cortisol when stress levels are high.
In addition eating right, try these 6 stress-reducing techniques to help manage daily stress:
- Getting enough sleep
- Engaging in a hobby
- Herbal supplements – Herbs like valerian, hops and skullcap are known to reduce stress and bring about a calm feeling. Stress Relief contains these herbs, as well as B-complex vitamins, vitamin C and magnesium, which all help in the production of serotonin and reduction of cortisol levels.