According to recent global data, around 33% of people worldwide report feeling extreme stress, with over 120,000 people dying annually due to work-related stress.
Stress can trigger migraines and other health issues. For the longest time, health experts have recommended exercising and eating a balanced diet to help combat stress. In fact, certain foods have even been known to cause flare-ups of migraines or fibromyalgia, among others. Here’s a quick guide on what food is best to eat to lower your stress levels and improve your overall health.
Fruits are complex carbohydrates, meaning they give you the needed energy to help you get through your day while relieving stress—whether you’re working, doing chores around your home, or working out. The best stress-buster and energizing fruits you can add to your diet are citrus fruits, such as oranges and grapefruit, because it’s rich in vitamin C, which studies have proven to effectively reduce stress levels.
Add fruit at each main meal you have throughout the day or as a snack, and swap them in place of your usual sugary desserts.
Eggs are rich in a nutrient called ‘choline,’ which is essential for acetylcholine production, a neurotransmitter affecting the portions of your brain regulating mood. This process means it can help reduce stress significantly, allowing you to enjoy your breakfast stress-free.
Dark chocolate can reduce stress levels in two ways, through its chemical and emotional impact. Many people consider chocolate a guilty indulgence that can be a real treat to savor, and that sensation alone can reduce your stress. Dark chocolate also has high antioxidant levels, increasing its stress-busting effects even more. Moreover, dark chocolate contains caffeine and theobromine, which can spike up your energy levels in addition to reducing stress.
However, ensure you eat dark chocolate in moderation, which is around 1/4 (1 ounce) of a small chocolate bar every day.
The omega-3 fatty acid can help prevent the body’s surge in stress hormones while giving your brain a healthy dose of mental energy. Additionally, this substance is known to reduce fibromyalgia-related inflammation caused by stress, easing your pain. It can also protect yourself against depression and premenstrual syndrome. Incorporate tuna or salmon to your meals a couple of days of the week or use olive oil when cooking.
Vegetables are known to pack numerous health benefits, especially leafy veggies like Swiss chard and spinach. They contain high magnesium levels, which helps them balance the body’s stress hormone—cortisol. Leveling the cortisol product in your body can effectively reduce your stress while helping you stack up on protein. This factor also makes them great energizing food, as not consuming enough protein can result in fatigue.
Add fruits to your diet as often you’d like, like adding spinach to your breakfast omelet or add in a small salad as a side dish for lunch.
Nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, and walnuts, have high antioxidant levels and zinc, which are great for boosting your immune system and managing stress levels. Nuts are rich in protein, giving your energy by fueling your muscles, making you energized and stress-free. Replace your favorite chips with a handful of almonds or cashew nuts, and you’ll be feeling happier and healthier than before.
Although there’s no ‘cure-all’ food to get rid of frustration, you can easily ease your stress away by staying active and include more of the foods mentioned in your diet.