Other than lifestyle tweaks, there is another aspect in stress management that many might over look, and that is picking the right foods to eat so as to help us combat the negative effects of stress. In this article, I will be sharing a list of easy to purchase foods that can help you relieve stress and the harms it does to your body. Coupled with proper lifestyle changes, it will definitely help you achieve the zen and the calm you are looking for.
Foods for stress management
1.Dark Leafy Vegetables
Dark leafy vegetables such as spinach are rich in a water-soluble vitamin B9 known as folate. It can help the body produce mood regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. A trial found that those who ate whole foods which mainly comprise of vegetables, fruits and white meat had reduced chances of depressive behaviours as compared to those that were heavy on unhealthy processed foods.
Fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, cod are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that can help to keep stress related hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline from peaking in the face of a tense situation.
Nuts such as almonds and pistachios are rich in minerals and nutrients, along with B vitamins and healthy fats. Not only can the B vitamins help with reducing stress, these nuts may help to lower blood pressure levels.
Magnesium that are rich in nuts are also found to have positive effects on anxiety management.
Try to choose nuts that are baked and not those which are seasoned with large amounts of salt or added flavourings.
Blueberries contain an antioxidant known as anthocyanins which can help the brain increase production of a hormone called dopamine. Dopamine helps improve memory function and mood.
Many of you might have heard that chocolates are go to treats especially for those who are going through stressful events in their lives such as a break up and these treats seem to make them feel better. Well, that is scientifically true as dark chocolate, those 70% cocoa and above contains a chemical known as anandamide. It is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that has the ability to temporarily block feelings of pain and depression.
Chocolates are calorie dense so do consume in moderation and the high milk high sugar ones should be avoided as they do not offer the potency dark chocolates can provide.
Similar to nuts and fatty fish, avocados are rich in vitamin B and can help where there is a deficiency in a body that can trigger anxiety. It is also high in monosaturated fats that can help in lowering blood pressure.
In general, just go for whole foods and avoid processed ones which are full of chemicals, sodium, additives; that can alter our mood for the worst.
Keep your body constantly hydrated and make sure to keep away from high sugared drinks and desserts as over consumption of sugar can cause a blood glucose crash which can lead to fatigue and mood swings.
By : Alvin Ho
B (Eng), MBA, Certified Allied Healthcare/Fitness Professional (EIMS), Master Fitness Trainer / Fitness Nutrition, Resistance & Endurance Training Specialist (NFPT)