8 Foods That Help Your Body Fight Stress
Feeling stressed out? Before you go reaching for a pint of comforting Ben & Jerry’s, consider that your body might need certain nutrients to help ward off the blues you’re feeling. Oftentimes, stress and anxiety are the byproducts of irregular levels of certain nutrients or hormones in our bodies. Maintaining a diet full of certain nutrient-rich foods, however, can help stave off those irregularities, keeping your body — and mind — in the best shape possible.
Try munching on any of these 8 healthy foods the next time you’re feeling frazzled.
According to Psychology Today, folate deficiencies have been linked to depression. A single cup of asparagus provides you with two-thirds of the recommended daily folic acid intake, writes Men’s Fitness, making the vegetable a great source of the mood-enhancing nutrient. Eat them as a snack, along with dressing, or try the spears grilled or steamed.
Almonds are rich in vitamins B2 and E, writes WebMD, which work to bolster the immune system in times of stress or depression. On top of that, they’re packed with protein, meaning it only takes a handful to get the nutrients you need and feel satisfied until your next meal. Try them on their own or opt for spreading some almond butter on pieces of fruit or multigrain toast.
Avocados are a great source of B vitamins, which are critical to the health of our nerves and brain cells, per the Mayo Clinic. Furthermore, deficiencies in B vitamins have been linked to high levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression by certain studies. Making avocados a balanced part of your diet will help you avoid the pitfalls of such a deficiency, and will also allow your body to maintain healthy levels of monounsaturated fat and potassium, which aid in lowering blood pressure, according to Men’s Fitness.
Did your parents ever give you a warm glass of milk before bedtime to help you sleep? Unlike many age-old home remedies that have been proven ineffective, this one actually has scientific merit. The calcium content of milk helps ease anxiety. It is also high in antioxidants, B vitamins, and protein lactium, a substance that helps lower blood pressure. The potassium in milk aids in relieving muscle spasms and overall tension, reports Men’s Fitness.
Blueberries may be small, but they pack a punch when it comes to health benefits. They’re high in antioxidants as well as Vitamin C, which has been proven helpful in combating stress and lowering blood pressure, writes Prevention. Try eating them on their own or in a bowl of skim milk as a quick, easy, stress-busting snack.
According to MSN Healthy Living, a single cup of cooked broccoli contains twice as much vitamin C — which helps regulate blood pressure and cortisol levels — as a medium orange. Furthermore, this low-calorie veggie helps strengthen your immune system, bolstering your body’s defenses against ailments. Try it on its own, dipped in hummus, or along with eggs in your breakfast.
Salmon and other naturally fatty fishes are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help regulate stress hormones — cortisol and adrenaline, in particular – per Men’s Fitness. Omega-3s can aid in fighting heart disease, depression, and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Try eating two to three standard servings of salmon or other fatty fish each week to maintain healthy omega-3 levels.
Spinach is a prime source of magnesium, another nutrient that helps regulate cortisol levels within the body. In fact, according to Men’s Fitness, a single cup of spinach contains 40 percent of the recommended daily intake for magnesium. Make versatile, low-calorie spinach a part of your diet by eating it in an omelet, on its own, or on a sandwich.