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5 Stress Reducing Foods for Stress Awareness Month

Author: Cara Walsh

April 22, 2014

5 Stress Reducing Foods for Stress Awareness Month

Author: Cara Walsh

April 22, 2014

April is National Stress Awareness month – an important time to reflect on and take action against the damaging effects of stress.

It is oftentimes easy to tell others to “calm down,” “don’t stress about it,” or “stop worrying so much.” The problem is, stress is managed quite differently from person to person. While some individuals seem to handle almost any level of adversity with relative ease, others seem to completely lose it if they can’t immediately find the TV remote (just get outside and exercise to help fix that problem!) Understanding that stress takes on different forms for different people is important, but there are ways that nearly all of us can better manage stress – through proper nutrition.

Nutrients found in some foods are ideally designed to help the human body cope with stress. The following are 5 stress reducing foods to integrate into your diet:

  1. Oatmeal – High in fiber (especially the old-fashioned, thick cut variety that take a few more minutes to cook than the instant kind), oatmeal is the breakfast equivalent of a turkey dinner. In the same way that tryptophan in turkey triggers a release of feel-good serotonin, compounds in oatmeal do the same thing. Having a bowl for breakfast will help you start your day off right.
  2. Spinach – Popeye had it right when he made spinach a part of his daily routine. While bulging biceps aren’t the real byproduct of consuming an appropriate amount of this leafy green, the magnesium in spinach does help your body regulate cortisol levels – which helps you feel balanced and more at peace. Add some to your sandwich, salad, or omelet for a healthy boost of well-being.
  3. Oranges – Vitamin C helps lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that can trigger stress episodes, so drinking a tall glass of OJ or eating a large orange can help keep this compound at bay and you feeling better.
  4. Milk – A glass of milk – served warm or cold, can help calm your nerves and loosen stressed out muscles due to milk’s abundant levels of lactium and potassium. Lactium has been shown to lower blood pressure, while potassium is a tried and true natural muscle relaxant.
  5. Avocados – Research has shown that a lack of B-vitamins may contribute to feelings of anxiety. Avocados contain serious levels of stress-reducing B-vitamins, in addition to potassium – which calms the muscles.

Stress is a damaging symptom of an often more serious issue. While stress can be brought on by problems at work, financial issues, relationship woes, or health concerns, it can also be effectively managed, to some degree, through nutrition and a healthy diet. Therapy, meditation, exercise, and lifestyle changes are all important ways to help cope with life’s stressors, but nutrition is one that is often overlooked. While there are other foods you can eat that may help minimize the effects of stress, the 5 stress reducing foods above are common, can be easily integrated into most diet plans, and are a healthy addition to daily meals.

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