“You are what you eat.” Who hasn’t heard this common cliché? Yet, as with most things that are cliché, at the center is some truth. The foods you choose to eat not only nourish your physical self. They also nourish your mind. And as such, eating the right foods can be a powerful tool for healing when you find yourself under undue stress.
Think of food as being akin to medicine. Just as the right medication can heal what ails you, so can the right foods. Conversely, the wrong foods can leave you feeling even worse than you did before.
If you’ve been feeling the pressure lately, there are six secret foods for instant stress relief that you can easily integrate into your diet. Read on to learn about a few foods that will hopefully soothe both your stomach and mind with their added anti-anxiety benefits, as well as a few foods that cause anxiety that you should avoid when you’re under stress.
Nosh on Oatmeal to Begin (or End) Your Day
Few things scream comfort food more than a hot bowl of oatmeal. But the comfort factor of this superfood goes well beyond just making you feel momentarily cozy. Oatmeal is high in fiber and whole grains, both of which keep your digestive system flowing smoothly.
Our digestive systems are intricately linked to our mental health. Studies have shown that those who do indulge in healthy carbohydrates report feeling more of a sense of calm and relaxation than people who drastically reduced their carbohydrate intake.
Snack on Nuts
If you’re looking to brighten your outlook and relieve stress, you can’t go wrong with nuts, especially nuts like walnuts and cashews. Why? These nuts are high in magnesium, a mineral proven to aid in relieving feelings of depression and anxiety.
Nuts such as these are high in not only protein to help you remain energetic throughout the day but also chemical compounds that help to regulate the neurotransmitter serotonin, a key player in depression and anxiety. Cashews also contain high amounts of zinc, another natural antidepressant.
Other nuts, such as pistachios and peanuts, also have calming properties.
Enjoy a Nice, Hot Cup of Tea
A hot cup of tea can really soothe the soul after a long day. And the type of tea you choose can really decrease your stress levels and get you feeling better fast!
Herbalists have long turned to chamomile tea to soothe tired and frayed nerves, and for good reason. This plant has been used throughout recorded history to treat anxiety and insomnia. A nice hot cup with some honey or cane sugar to sweeten it can ease you into sweet dreams after even a day that’s left you frazzled.
For a super stress relief booster, try sipping a cup of chamomile while you relax in a nice, lavender-scented bath to double up on the aromatherapy benefits as well.
Go Ahead and Indulge in Avocado Toast
Avocado toast has gotten a bad rap in the news, but in reality, avocados are incredibly nutritious and beneficial in relieving stress levels. Avocados are high in good, healthy fats that keep your brain functioning in tip-top shape.
And with a plethora of B-vitamins as well as vitamin E, avocados bust stress and even help to heal internal inflammation caused by the malabsorption of bad fats. So, if you want to relax in fine California girl style, go ahead and order that avocado toast. Your nerves will thank you!
De-Stress with a Sweet Chocolate Treat
Chocolate also gets a bad rap, getting tied in with other candies as being high in calories and low in nutritional value. However, not all chocolate is the same! Dark chocolate is incredibly high in anti-oxidants, which help fight free radicals in the body that can cause cancer and have also been linked to anxiety and depression.
So, go ahead and treat yourself to a sweet, chocolate treat! Just be sure to enjoy in moderation and choose dark chocolate to get the most out of the stress-relieving benefits and other health benefits.
If It Doesn’t Nourish Your Body, It Won’t Nourish Your Mind
Choosing which foods to avoid for stress-relief takes only a bit of common sense. The list of foods that cause anxiety would be too long to name off here, and that’s because it basically correlates with the list of foods that hold very little to no health benefits — which is also a very long list, unfortunately. The bottom line is that if a food doesn’t nourish your body, it’s devoid of stress-busting benefits as well.
Try to avoid overly processed foods such as those made with white flour. You don’t have to read nutrition labels that carefully to make important discoveries — a quick glance will tell you if the food you’re choosing has filling protein or is rich in vitamins and minerals. Nourish your body and mind with these six secret foods for instant stress relief and breathe that deep sigh of relief!