Stress gets to the best of us sometimes; whether it’s financial struggles, an upcoming deadline for work, or an issue in our relationships. Whilst some people eat in times of stress, it’s often the wrong types of food that can lead us to feel worse off than we were initially. So instead of mindlessly munching the next time anxiety hits, read on to discover the foods you should be eating when you’re stressed!
All dark leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses, but the best of the bunch for reducing stress is spinach. Whilst stress can leave you feeling down in the dumps, spinach is packed with magnesium that will help to boost your mood. Magnesium is great for two reasons: firstly it lowers blood sugar meaning fewer cravings for the not-so-healthy stuff and secondly it regulates cortisol – calming our nervous system and helping to improve sleep – definitely a win-win in our opinion! So throw some spinach into your morning smoothie (we promise you won’t taste it!), sauté it in tamari, ginger and spring onion for an Asian-inspired side, or add it to raw salads for some stress-combating crunch.
Blueberries are wonderful for reducing unwanted stress thanks to their superb antioxidants and vitamin C. A great way to satisfy your sweet tooth the healthy way, blueberries are one of the lowest sugar fruits around, meaning fewer energy slumps and more sustained energy! Great alone, we love munching on ours alongside a handful of nuts (extra magnesium and plant-based protein – yes please!), stirred into a warming bowl of oats, or eaten frozen on a summers day for a guilt-free bite-sized take on fruit sorbet!
You don’t have to give us another reason to eat one of our favourite foods, but avocados are actually fabulous to incorporate into your diets when stress hits. Anxiety has been found to be linked to a deficiency in B vitamins, of which avocados are the perfect plant-based source! Particularly high in B5, an essential nutrient for maintaining our adrenal health to keep our hormones happy and our energy levels from flagging. We love eating ours on oatcakes for stress-busting pick-me-up, layered on our morning rye toast, or blended with cacao, banana and maple syrup for an indulgent avocado mousse!
One of our favourites on our list of foods to alleviate stress is the humble almond. Rich in mood regulating B-complex vitamins, soothing vitamin E, calming magnesium and most notably, zinc. This clever vitamin plays a crucial role in modulating the brain and body’s response to stress. Studies have even shown that anxiety disorders and depression are often linked to low levels of this important vitamin!
Especially high in vitamin C, known for its immune strengthening benefits, this amazing vitamin is also great for regulating cortisol levels, inducing a calming effect on the body, offering some release from a tense and stressed out state. Whilst plain old orange juice can get a little boring, try and jazz up your orange intake by adding segments to a colourful quinoa salad with roasted fennel, avocado and a creamy tahini dressing – yum!