With excess stress being a problem for so many, causing issues with the immune system, sleep patterns, digestive capacity and mood, managing stress is critical.
Some foods help while others can significantly add to stress levels. To avoid this, ensure your meals and snacks are well-balanced with high fibre, low sugar, low starch and plenty of healthy, natural fats and protein every time you eat.
Here are just some of the foods our experts suggest you should be focusing on:
Mackerel, Sardines, Anchovies, Herring and Salmon, unlike white fish, contain the brain-friendly omega 3 fatty acids, which act like a natural anti-depressant. Aim for 3 – 5 portions of oily fish a week.
Magnesium and B vitamins are essential for a well-balance nervous system and brain chemical regulation, which enhance our capacity to cope with stress.
To get enough of the 8 B vitamins and plenty of magnesium, it’s important to increase the range of natural foods you eat. In particular, eat lots of nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds, almonds, pistachio and cashew nuts and avocados along with green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, rocket, watercress and cabbage.
To further increase magnesium levels in the body, have a soak in a bath with Epsom salts and have some high quality dark chocolate daily for both magnesium and protective antioxidants.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that increases production of your happy brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin also becomes melatonin, your sleep hormone, so enough tryptophan is critical for mood regulation and sleep quality, which greatly influences mood.
To get enough tryptophan, eat plenty of nuts, seeds, tofu, cheese, red meat, chicken, turkey, fish, oats, beans, lentils, and eggs.
Have a Cup of Tea
Theanine found in tea, especially green tea is a great stress-reliever. Normal Black Tea contains lots of beneficial anti-oxidants and calming Theanine and Green Tea, especially Matcha Green Tea, has higher amounts of both.
The longer you leave the tea bag in, the better. Theanine actively reduces anxiety and induces a sense of calm.
Live foods such as natural yogurt, unpasteurized cheeses, Sauerkraut, Kimchi and Kefir all provide a range of beneficial bacteria for the gut.
Recent studies have found a very strong connection between poor gut bacteria and stress, anxiety and depression.