Let's Be Honest: 5 Foods Proven to Reduce Stress Levels

 By Zarifah binti Aziz | Published on July 26, 2022

Everyone experiences stress, but how you deal with it makes a difference. When people are under stress, they will consume their comfort foods, such as spicy cuisine like spicy burgers or something sweet like ice cream and blended ice. 

However, did you know that there are foods that are not only delicious but also healthy that can help with stress relief?

Yes, how you handle stress is entirely up to you. Since too much stress is harmful to your health, stress management can be a strong tool for wellness. There are numerous tactics, and one of them involves your diet. 

The following list of wholesome foods will help you relax and relieve stress:

Let's Be Honest

1. Dark Chocolate Offers an Antioxidant-Rich Indulgence

According to research (1), eating dark chocolate may help to reduce stress hormone levels. Chocolate releases serotonin, which enhances mood, because it also includes sugar, a carbohydrate. Have you heard that dark chocolate has both chemical and emotional effects that can help to reduce stress? 

For now, you can enjoy it as long as you watch your portions and aim for one-ounce servings. Keep in mind that moderation is key. Additionally, be sure the dark chocolate you purchase has a high cocoa content and is free of any hidden additions or chemicals by carefully reading the nutrition label before making your purchase.

Let's Be Honest

2. Pistachios

A Penn State (2) study found that pistachios help reduce vascular stress. Pistachios are rich with fibre, healthy fats, and antioxidants that can help maintain blood vessels open and relaxed while under stress. 

Also, please keep in mind, though, to limit servings to just a handful a day to avoid excess calories. If you ever get tired of eating just pistachios, you can make up a delicious afternoon snack by combining them with yoghurt, oats, and fresh fruit.

High-calorie fruit

3. Avocado

Potassium, a crucial mineral for regulating blood pressure, is rich in avocados. They are also rich in important phytochemicals including phenolics and carotenoids. 

Furthermore, these substances have antioxidant properties that lessen oxidative and inflammatory stress, which develops when your body has an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. 

4. Yoghurt

Yogurt is a great calcium source. According to research, yoghurt has Lactobacillus, a bacteria-friendly that can ease digestion and enhance immunity. Additionally, these bacteria can aid in altering the body’s microbiome, which will help in the elimination of depression. Moreover, yogurt works to change stress hormones in the brain into hormones that make you feel good.

Perhaps you could add some seeds, nuts, or fresh fruit, like berries, to improve the flavour and texture before enjoying it as a snack.

5. Black tea

Other than that, with a warm cup of black tea, soothe tense nerves. The calming heat and the plant-based components in tea work together to balance out your body’s reaction to stress. Did you know that drinking black tea could speed up your recovery from stressful situations? 

In one study (3), participants who drank 4 cups of tea each day for 6 weeks were compared to participants who drank a different beverage. After stressful situations, the tea drinkers reported feeling calmer and had lower cortisol levels. 

Conclusion

In short, you can effectively handle stress by eating. However, it is preferable to eat healthy foods that you enjoy rather than junk food, which might cause you to overeat and gain weight. 

Hence, you can start giving these foods a try whenever you’re feeling stressed, especially yoghurt, as it may be a filling snack and they’re easy and cheap to buy. 

Last but not least, always keep in mind that eating anything should be done in moderation.

Reference

  1. Metabolic Effects of Dark Chocolate Consumption on Energy, Gut Microbiota, and Stress-Related Metabolism in Free-Living Subjects. CS Publications. Retrieved from https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/pr900607v
  2. Pistachios may lower vascular response to stress in Type 2 diabetes. Penn State. Retrieved from https://www.psu.edu/news/research/story/pistachios-may-lower-vascular-response-stress-type-2-diabetes/ 
  3. Williams, L. E., & Bargh, J. A. (2008). Experiencing physical warmth promotes interpersonal warmth. Science (New York, N.Y.), 322(5901), 606–607. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1162548
  4. The 10 Best Foods to Help Fight Stress. Everydayhealth. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/how-to-reduce-stress-with-diet
  5. 6 Foods Proven To Reduce Stress Levels. Nuts.com. Retrieved from https://nuts.com/healthy-eating/foods-to-reduce-stress
  6. Top 10 Foods for Stress Relief. Food Network. Retrieved from https://www.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/healthy-tips/2010/04/top-10-foods-for-stress-relief
  7. Foods That Help Tame Stress. WeMD. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-diet-for-stress-management
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