Make These 7 Foods That Fight Stress Part of Your Diet!

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Do you know the 7 foods that fight stress?  Do you eat any of them regularly?

It’s no secret that many women turn to food as a means of comfort when they feel stressed out.

Fortunately, that can be good news because food can keep you calm when you’re under pressure.

Before you get carried away, though, just know that fried chicken or mac and cheese are NOT one of the 7 foods that fight stress!  ( Sorry!:-))

That type of eating will lead to anxiety and guilt.

On the other hand, there are 7 foods that fight stress masterfully.   These foods help reduce stress and boost your levels of happiness!

Your diet can help you fight stress!7 foods that fight stress

Foods Types That Can Help Fight Stress

  • High in Fiber, Rich in Carbohydrates

Serotonin is a hormone that contributes to relaxation.

Additionally, according to researchers from MIT (On Brain Serotonin, Carb Craving, Obesity And Depression, Wurtman) carbohydrates are believed to trigger it.

NOTE:  remember, there are healthy sources of carbs.

Fiber is great for satiating hunger and should help you avoid any junk food binges (particularly late at night).

If you want healthy comfort foods that help reduce stress then turn to minestrone soup and baked sweet potatoes. 

  • Fruits and Vegetables

Sometimes there is just nothing better than a giant veggie platter to indulge in.  Thankfully, veggies come with many health benefits (excluding that ranch dressing, of course).

Chronic stress destroys your immune system and makes it difficult to ward off disease. That’s why it’s important to boost your intake of immunity supporting foods, including citrus fruits, carrots, and acorn squash.

Those are all good foods that can reduce stress because all are good sources of vitamins and minerals.  Exactly what you need MOST to help bust stress.

7 Foods That Fight Stress

  • Leafy Greens

Folate rich foods (like spinach) help produce dopamine and serotonin, which help regulate your mood.

Those who consume high levels of folate reduce their risk of depression.

Spinach is also rich in magnesium.

Too little magnesium can cause fatigue and headaches, which makes stress worse.

If you hate spinach, you can opt for salmon or cooked soybeans instead, both of which are high in magnesium.

I love spinach and salmon!  Those are a staple part of my diet and help me reduce stress.  They rank high on my list of 7 foods that fight stress!

  • Fermented Foods

According to Harvard Medical School Health Publications, there is a direct link between gut health and anxiety, stress, and depression.

The good bacteria heavily influence your brain chemistry and the signals that your brain receives from the vagus nerve.

Regularly eating lactobacillus rhamnosus can reduce your stress levels thus relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression.

You can enjoy fermented foods from the supermarket or make your own (which would be the wiser option) whether you prefer yogurt or fermented vegetables.

  • Oatmeal

According to WebMD, a warm bowl of oatmeal is comforting, and boosts serotonin, which is a calming brain chemical.

This is my go-to breakfast every week-day morning.  I sprinkle flaxeed, pumkin seeds and raisins on top! It’s so good AND it helps me reduce stress too!

  • Oranges

WebMd further reports that the vitamin C in oranges can curb stress hormones and also boosts immunity.

One study found that levels of cortisol, the main stress hormone returned to normal in people who received vitamin C following a stressful task. 

  • Blueberries

WebMD reports that the pigment that makes blueberries blue is anthocyanin.

They don’t just make your berries dark, though, they also boost dopamine production in the brain.  As  we know it’s crucial for your mood, coordination, and memory function.

Blueberries are old school superfoods. I LOVE them in a smoothie with banana and chia seeds!  Perfect for breakfast on the go! 

  • Avocado

This healthy fat can also brag a wealth of nutrients (including folate, potassium, the vitamin B complex, and Vitamin E, too).

For stress, it gives you plenty of potassium, which helps reduce high blood pressure.

Eating half of one at lunch is enough to help you avoid unnecessary snacking between meals.

That doesn’t mean eating only that for lunch, rather in addition to your normal lunch.

They’re also efficient at keeping blood sugar levels stable, which then keeps your mood level (even when you’re under stress). 

  • Pistachios

Pistachios are good for reducing vascular constriction, which is a typical occurrence during stressful situations.

This reduces the pressure on your heart and helps manage stress.

It isn’t just the contents of the nut either; it’s the very act of shelling the pistachios that can be therapeutic.  Just remember to always choose organic nuts.

3 Foods That Make Stress Worse

  • High Fat

Cheeses, meats, and a lot of baked goods will leave you feeling lethargic.

Unhealthy fats thicken the blood, increase the risk of heart attack, and contribute to stress. Choose lean proteins. 

  • Caffeine

Caffeine can provide a necessary energy boost. However, indulging too much will only fuel sleepless nights and cause you even greater stress.

While you may be downing your third or fourth cup of the day, there’s still caffeine in your system from the previous two.

Learn to limit your intake by cutting off the supply after 2 pm.  This will reduce any jitters you could experience and should help you get a better night’s sleep.

  • Sugar

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that causes crashes since it quickly floods the blood stream and then leaves just as fast.

So, remember when choosing your carbohydrates to opt for the complex variety (like beans and lentils).

Clearly, diet and stress are linked!

Not only will making bad food choices fuel stress, but making the right food choices can help relieve stress and alleviate healthy symptoms.

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  1. Love it! Many of my favorites are on your list! Plus, good to know the cup of spinach in my daily breakfast smoothie helps beat the stress of the day.

    Thanks for the tips! Glad to have visited from the FB midlife group!

    1. Darlene Berkel says:

      That’s great Lisa! I added spinach to my diet initially because I suffered with anemia. Then I learned its nutritional value to fight stress and I became a spinach gardener! I love the stuff. I add it to smoothies ( it’s DELICIOUS with banana and Almond milk ), I add it to my scrambled eggs, I eat it as a side dish (mixed up with onions, sweet peppers, garlic etc) when I eat salmon ( another powerful anti-stress food). Can you tell that I love spinach and that it ranks high on my list of 7 foods that fight stress?!! 🙂

  2. Proud to be a daily blueberry eater! 🙂

  3. Darlene Berkel says:

    @Laurie, I love blueberries too, especially in smoothies with almond milk and oats. They’ve gotten REALLY expensive after the hurricanes though.

    @Rebecca, I have to admit I am not a big lover of avocados ( except in guacamole). 🙂 Great that you eat them every day.

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