If you’re feeling stressed, it’s only natural to seek relief. While occasional bouts of stress are difficult to avoid, chronic stress can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health. In fact, it may increase your risk of conditions like heart disease and depression. Interestingly, certain foods and beverages may have stress-relieving qualities. Listed here are some that you may want to try.
This vibrant green tea powder is popular among health enthusiasts because it’s rich in L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid with powerful stress-relieving properties. Matcha is a better source of this amino acid than other types of green tea, as it’s made from green tea leaves grown in shade. This process increases its content of certain compounds, including L-theanine. Both human and animal studies show that matcha may reduce stress if its L-theanine content is high enough and its caffeine is low.
Eating whole, nutrient-rich carb sources like sweet potatoes may help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Although cortisol levels are tightly regulated, chronic stress can lead to its dysfunction which may cause inflammation, pain and other adverse effects. They are also packed with nutrients that are important for stress response such as vitamin C and potassium.
Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish that’s typically made with napa cabbage and daikon, a type of radish. Fermented foods like kimchi are packed with beneficial bacteria called probiotics and high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Research reveals that fermented foods may help reduce stress and anxiety. Many other studies show that probiotic supplements and probiotic-rich foods like kimchi have beneficial effects on mental health. This is likely due to their interactions with your gut bacteria which directly affect your mood.
Organ meats, which include the heart, liver and kidneys of animals like cows and chickens are an excellent source of B vitamins, especially B12, B6, riboflavin, and folate which are essential for stress control. B vitamins are necessary for the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin which help regulate mood.
Eggs are often referred to as nature’s multivitamin because of their impressive nutrient profile. Whole eggs are packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants needed for a healthy stress response.
Whole eggs are particularly rich in choline, a nutrient found in large amounts in only a few foods and which has been shown to play an important role in brain health.
Chamomile is a medicinal herb that has been used since ancient times as a natural stress reducer. Its tea and extract have been shown to promote restful sleep and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Blueberries are associated with a number of health benefits including improved mood. These berries are high in flavonoid antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory and neuro protective effects. They may help reduce stress-related inflammation and protect against stress related cellular damage. Studies show that eating flavonoid-rich foods like blueberries may safeguard against depression and boost your mood.
Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin acts as a powerful antioxidant and is essential for mental health. A low intake of this nutrient is associated with altered mood and depression. Sunflower seeds are also high in other stress-reducing nutrients including magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, B vitamins and copper.