Managing Stress Levels With Diet

stressed college student

Leafy Greens Shown To Suppress Stress

Chronic stress is increasingly eating away at our overall well-being, according to the latest “Stress in America” survey published by the American Psychological Association (APA). The food we digest can have a massive effect on alleviating stress and can be as easily attained by visiting your store’s produce section. One of the best food groups shown to combat crippling tension are green, leafy veggies such as swiss chard, spinach, collard greens and kale which contain high levels of magnesium that help calm and counteract the body’s stress hormone called cortisol.

Today’s Higher Anxiety

In these demanding times, stress can be triggered almost every minute by occupational demands, financial burdens and raising a family. Interpersonal relationships, whether with your partner, friends, children or boss, can also add to unease. Constant stress over time can lead serious health issues like heart disease, addiction and even obesity. That’s where good food choices can be your savior.

Digesting stress-soothing foods like leafy greens at least once a day is a great start while also discovering societal shortcuts to help ease anxiety. A personal trainer or class at the gym will take the think work out of the workout. Additionally, a prepared meal program can lighten the burden of meal planning, shopping and cooking, shaving hours off the daily grind.

Foods That Add To Stress

Certain foods and additives actually increase anxiety naturally and should be avoided. High calorie foods like deep-fried or fast foods will raise the blood pressure which adds to tension. Sugar in all forms – soda, candy, desserts – will increase blood sugar levels which causes the body to release more of the cortisol hormone responsible for anxiety escalation.

Don’t Worry, Eat Happy

As important as certain foods are to help the body naturally relieve anxiety, dietary habits are equally important. Traffic and long commutes contribute to anxiety even before you get to work. Keeping healthy snacks in your car or in your carry on for a flight like protein bars, berries or unsalted nuts (think almonds or cashews) can be a boon for providing energy, boosting the immune system and enhancing mood inhibitors.

Enjoy a banana for breakfast and some avocado slices on a sandwich as both are loaded with potassium, a vital mineral for keeping blood pressure low. A cup of green tea has also been shown to enhance mental performance and calm the nerves. Yogurt contains probiotics which help break down bacteria in the stomach that contributes to stress.

Salmon for supper is also an effective weekly meal. In a study by the National Institutes of Health, patients who took omega-3 supplements, which is naturally found in salmon, had a 20 per cent reduction in anxiety compared to the group given a placebo pill. Turkey is another calming dinner choice as the bird helps produce serotonin, the chemical that regulates hunger and feelings of happiness and well-being. Choosing the proper foods can not only fuel the body, but stimulate the mind in energetic, positive ways so you don’t stress the small stuff.

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