Who else is a little tired of hearing about all these different foods that are evil, bad, and should be removed from your diet? I mean there is so much contradictory health advice out there about what foods are terrible and which are the best for you. This is why, today, I am talking about the foods that you should add to your diet, instead of focusing on the ones that should be eliminated. And primarily these 6 delicious and healthy foods that have been shown to specifically help our mental health and well-being. Not to mention, these 6 foods also help ease anxiety and stress!
Since our brains, our bodies, and our emotions are all interconnected, our emotional well-being can’t help but be impacted by the foods that we are eating. Therefore, if you are struggling with anxiety and high levels of stress, start by looking at the foods you eat on a daily basis! Best of all, many of these delicious, healthy foods may already be in your pantry and refrigerator!
1. Sweet potato
Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, which help keep blood sugar levels balanced as well as our mood. Not to mention, it’s currently sweet potato season! They are one of the most culinarily versatile foods and it’s also packed with tons of nutrients and antioxidants. Which, of course, can improve your body’s reaction to stress. The next time you are at the grocery store, be sure to pick up a bag of sweet potatoes! There are so many ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your everyday diet such as baking, roasting, or mashing them up. They’re perfect for a healthy, delicious, and stress-reducing side dish or mid-day snack!
2. Dark chocolate
Curb your sweet tooth cravings and soothe your anxiety at the same time! Because dark chocolate contains flavonols, which are stress-reducing antioxidants that may benefit brain function, this helps to improve blood flow to the brain. Which ultimately promotes your brain’s ability to adapt to stressful situations. Additionally, these stress-reducing antioxidants also promote your body’s serotonin levels which help to boost your mood, increase your energy, and positively affect your emotions.
3. Leafy greens
Especially spinach! And I know, I know, I’m sure you have heard many people say “eat your leafy greens” more times than you would like – but what is it about spinach and other leafy greens that are so good?? The reason why leafy greens are so good and healthy for you is that they are very dense in magnesium. In fact, magnesium is referred to as a “natural chill-pill” to those in the diet and nutrition field. This is most likely why you may have seen or heard of people taking magnesium supplements to aid in better sleep or reducing anxiety/stress levels.
Nonetheless, you can actually get lots of magnesium naturally through spinach and other dark, leafy greens! Even if you are not a big salad fan, you are still in luck! I have added spinach to my egg white scramble in the morning, to protein pancakes, and to smoothies!
Oatmeal is considered a “triple threat” when it comes to reducing levels of stress and anxiety! It contains high levels of B vitamins, magnesium, and fiber. Which, are all key nutrients for reducing levels of anxiety, stress, and even depression. Oats are actually one of the best food sources for serotonin production – your body’s happy and stress-relieving hormone.
When your body is lacking serotonin, your anxiety levels increase. This why eating healthy foods that promote serotonin production is essential for decreasing your anxiety, stress, and symptoms of depression.
Love oatmeal as much as I do??
Check out this post next! “12 Overnight Oat Recipes That Are Healthy & So Easy To Make!”
This one is exceptionally exciting to hear for all of the avocado toast and guacamole lovers out there! Avocados are packed with vitamin B6, which helps the body make several neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Which, as mentioned above, influences your mood and emotions since serotonin has positive effects on the nervous system. Balancing stress and hormones go hand in hand. Therefore, when you are feeling very stressed, it’s typically because your hormones are out of balance.
Additionally, a deficiency in vitamin B has also been linked to increased anxiety in many people. Because avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins and heart-healthy fat, your morning egg and avocado toast may be the best way for you to lessen your anxiety and stress levels! So get that extra guacamole on the side, my friend! 😉
This one I saved for last mainly because you may not have it in your refrigerator right now, however, I bet you will after you’re done reading this post! You may have heard of kombucha before, especially since it is very popular in the health and wellness world. But you may not actually know what kombucha is. Kombucha is a fermented tea that contains numerous health benefits.
Fermented foods have tons of probiotics in them which promote gut health! Although there are many fermented foods out there that all promote gut health, I personally like kombucha the best since it is easy to drink and it comes in many, tasty flavors. In fact, you can even make kombucha easily at home which will save you a lot of money as well!
But you may still be asking yourself, “what is the big deal with having a healthy and happy gut?” Well, currently, there has been so much research and findings that talk about 80%-90% of your body’s serotonin (happy hormones) is produced in your digestive tract! That means 80%-90% of our serotonin that goes to our brain and helps with our overall mood, happiness, and well-being is created in our gut and digestive tract!
Therefore, eating foods that are fermented and high in probiotics, like kombucha, promote a healthy gut and digestive system. And if 80%-90% of our body’s serotonin is created in the gut, then that is why it is very important to have a healthy and happy gut!
I hope you found these 6 foods that help ease anxiety and decrease stress as interesting as I did!
Which one of these foods is your favorite?