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Do you feel like you are always on the go, so busy you can't catch up? Do you feel like you are running on empty and so stressed that you can barely handle it? If so, you aren't alone. But if you are under a lot of stress, then it is important to look to your diet to support your body. In this article, I'll share all about the best foods for stress so that you can start feeling calmer and healthier.
I will cover:
- 9 foods that help relieve stress.
- 6 foods that make stress worse.
- Stress-relieving recipe ideas.
9 foods that lower stress
Here are my top 9 stress-relieving foods.
There is a certain chemical in chocolate that will help reduce stress. But I'm not talking sugary milk chocolate like you'd find in a generic candy bar. I mean sugar-free dark chocolate. Chocolate has something called theobromine in it. That's good for blood pressure and good for mood-boosting. Dark chocolate also has antioxidants in it that can help keep your body healthy.
Healthy chocolate can be great anti-stress food. I don't recommend eating chocolate later in the day, because it can get in the way of good quality sleep. Late morning is a good time to have your dark chocolate snack.
2. Nutritional yeast
Another great feel-good healthy food is nutritional yeast. Why? Because it is high in B vitamins. B vitamins, specifically B1, can help lower stress.
You can get nutritional yeast in tablets or powder form. The powder is great for sprinkling on your food and can add a great flavor.
Celery has a chemical in it that helps lower blood pressure. It also helps you sleep and feel calm.
Celery with nut butter is a great nutrient-rich snack that can help out with stress relief.
4. Kombucha tea
This is a nice drink to consume in the evening as a replacement for alcohol. Kombucha has calming effects on the nervous system. It will help calm you down and you will feel really good after drinking it. And it has great nutrients in it like antioxidants, which help repair the body when it is under stress.
Choose a kombucha tea that has no more than 2 grams of sugar in it. I recommend drinking only half of a bottle in one sitting because it is very acidic. Drinking too much at once can increase your pulse.
Thought bacon was bad for you? Guess again. Pork is loaded with vitamin B1, which is great for stress.
But you must be sure to choose high-quality bacon, like the kind you find at the farmer's market. Do not eat highly processed types of bacon.
6. Egg yolks
I love eggs and egg yolks as part of a stress-busting meal. Why? Certain hormones like cortisol that help you deal with stress are made from cholesterol and fat. So you need to eat fats in order to make the stress hormones your body needs. Plus, eggs have a lot of other nutrients like choline, which helps with the nervous system and relaxation in general. They also have omega-3 fatty acids; omega 3s are a healthy type of fat.
Eggs are a common staple for comfort food breakfasts or try making hard-boiled eggs as an easy snack.
Asparagus is another food high in vitamin B1 that can help you lower stress. It also has good fiber to feed your friendly microbes, which will produce chemicals to help you feel calm. Learn more about the amazing health benefits of asparagus here.
Asparagus is delicious grilled or cooked into things like asparagus and bacon frittatas.
Pecans are one of the best nuts for stress. There is a certain compound in them that helps reduce stress in the body. And they are the best keto nut there is, too.
Try chocolate-covered pecans (free of sugar) for a post-meal dessert.
Everything tastes better with butter. And it turns out that things can be less stressful with butter around, too. Butter has cholesterol in it, which is a precursor for the hormones you need to deal with stress like cortisol. If you are stressed out, you do not want to eat a low-fat diet. That will just starve your body of stress hormones.
Cook with butter or use butter as a healthy fat topping on your food.
So those are some of the top de-stressing superfoods you can eat. But what about other foods? Which kinds of foods do you need to stay away from to help out your stress levels?
6 foods that increase stress
These foods should be avoided, as they can up your stress and take a toll on your body.
When you eat sugar, you deplete your nutrients. That includes things like B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, etc. And your stress will go up. You might feel better for about a minute after eating sugar, but then your blood sugar will crash and you will feel much worse.
2. Refined grains
Like sugar, refined grains will deplete you of nutrients. It might be tempting to reach for a donut or pastry when feeling strained. But several minutes later, you'll become even more stressed. Refined grains are not helpful for stress relief.
Again, starches might leave you feeling good for a few minutes, but later on, you will have a big crash in blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops, you have more anxiety and you can become irritable. Starches should be avoided.
A lot of people drink alcohol, and it can seem like it helps you ease away your stress. But that is really a trick because alcohol actually depletes your body of certain nutrients and will increase your stress levels a day or so later. It is notorious for depleting B vitamins, specifically.
5. Excess coffee
A little bit of coffee every day is okay, but I recommend against too much. Try to aim for one cup or so per day, but not anymore. Otherwise, it will add to your stress problems.
6. Low-fat diets
As I mentioned earlier, you need fat to make stress hormones like cortisol. When you eat a low-fat diet, you starve your body of the precursors of hormones. And that will just put added stress on your body.
If you are looking for some inspiration on how to cook with the 9 best foods for stress, then try out these recipes:
- Asparagus and bacon frittata.
- Bacon and egg fat bomb.
- Coconut pecan fudge fat bomb.
- Pecan chocolate chip cookies.
If you've felt your stress levels skyrocketing recently, then give yourself the support you need. Start looking to your diet for the best foods for stress, so that you can feel calmer, more balanced, and more relaxed overall.
Here's a quick review of what to eat and what not to eat.
What to eat for stress:
- Nutritional yeast
- Kombucha tea
- Egg yolks
What NOT to eat for stress:
- Refined grains
- Excess coffee
- Low-fat diets
What foods help you stay calm and relaxed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.