Take a minute to think about your to-do list right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I know you could probably take another 100 minutes to add more tasks to this ever-growing list. It gets incredibly frustrating when your to-do list never diminishes. Your stress levels rise and before you know it, you are on autopilot running from one meeting to the next, balancing 700 tasks, your family demands and your personal well-being. When stress gets high, your health suffers on countless levels.
Do you suffer from any of the following?
- Poor sleep/insomnia
- Aches/pains or tight muscles
- Loss of focus
- Difficulty remembering
- Loss of libido
- Anxiety or depression/sadness
- Lowered immune system/frequent illnesses
- Distressed GI tract
- Low energy levels
- Twitching muscles especially eyelids
What if I told you that you can naturally lower your stress levels by doing something you already do everyday? Eat food! We have an amazing list of 6 foods that will help you naturally lower your stress levels simply by adding them to your diet.
When we are stressed, our vitamin B stores deplete and become non-existent. We need these vitamins to support our neurotransmitters to handle the “fight and flight” response. Nuts are packed with vitamin B and potassium, which will help lower your blood pressure. Blood pressure starts to rise as your to-do list hovers over you and destroys your sanity. So grab a healthy handful of the following nuts and toss them in a bag to keep with you when hunger strikes and stress hits!
Try pistachios, almonds, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts and walnuts. Add a few dark chocolate chips for the extra benefit of lowering your cortisol levels and managing your hormones. Not to mention, they are delicious. About 1-2 ounces of dark chocolate every day, is perfect. This is not your permission slip to eat massive chocolate bars. Sorry!
When we are stressed and anxious, our brains stop working well. Whether or not you think you are focused and staying strong with your pesky to-do list, studies show that brain function lowers, as stress increases. Adding salmon or some other oily fish twice a week is incredibly beneficial to lowering inflammation and reducing stress/anxiety.
Not about fish? Talk to your health care provider about adding Omega-3s to your supplemental plan, especially DHA and EPA!
This is one of my most favorite things on the planet. Lucky for me, it has a zillion awesome health benefits. Oatmeal helps to replenish your serotonin. This neurotransmitter is CRITICAL for the reduction of stress and depression. Not into carbs? News flash: Studies have shown that low/no carb eaters report higher stress levels and depression. Yikes! Maybe that’s why I’m so damn happy! I eat oatmeal twice a day, believe it or not.
You can do anything with oatmeal to make to delicious and your “cup of tea”. Add cinnamon (amazing for inflammation) and blueberries (antioxidants) for even more incredible benefits.
Think that oranges are the crime fighters of the Vitamin C world? Think again. Yes, they are packed with vitamin C but that’s not a good reason to guzzle a half-gallon of sugar packed orange juice every day. Red bell peppers have twice the amount of Vitamin C AND have a lot less sugar, resulting in less blood sugar spikes. Vitamin C is critical for reducing blood pressure and recovering from elevated cortisol levels that are linked to stress and anxiety. Individuals who consume high doses of vitamin C BEFORE stressful activities (including exercise) have reported feeling more focused, less stressed and bounce back quicker those who don’t.
Others sneaky sources of Vitamin C include broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, tomatoes and brussel sprouts! So get creative and enjoy getting those veggies in.
Studies have shown that people who sip on tea de-stress a lot faster than those that don’t. They also tend to have lower cortisol levels! Try to stick to decaffeinated teas, as caffeine will just increase your “go go go” response and keep you strapped to your haunting to-do list. Choosing peppermint tea, chamomile, ginger, black or white tea is perfect. They will not only help reduce stress but they will also support a healthy GI tract, which is synonymous for getting thrown off track during stressful periods of your life.
Again, this is not an excuse for you to get crazy with all the sugar-packed teas on the market. Remember, sugar will wreak havoc on insulin levels and destroy your hormone balance. If you need to sweeten it us, add a little bit of honey or agave nectar and enjoy!
This is the crime fighter of the folic acid world! Folic acid deficiency has been linked to depression and anxiety. Having just one cup of asparagus contains the daily-recommended amount for folic acid. It’s also packed with vitamin A, C. E and K! Added bonus? It’s contains chromium, a trace mineral that supports your metabolism. This vegetable is amazing and incredibly versatile. Add it to omelets, stir frys, salads etc!
Chef tip: Store your asparagus in the door of the refrigerator standing up in a jar with an inch of water and a plastic bag over the top. This will lengthen the life of your folic acid crime fighter.
Alright friends, now you know all the foods you should be adding to your daily nutrition to help lower your stress levels, fight anxiety and beat depression. So get out there and get to shopping and prepping. For more great tips and recipes, check out more from our blog and The Bella Life! Not a Bella? Join us for monthly recipes, workouts, menus, calendars, monthly mantras, fit tips and so much more. Click here to join us as a Bella
It’s the perfect time to join as the month of September is dedicated to reducing stress! Get ready to be your healthiest and happiest version of yourself.