Stress and anxiety are experienced by many people. If you’re under the pressure of daily life – chances are you’re in that basket! While most people to mask the physical symptoms with medication, you are not most people. You’re a health conscious life warrior! Truly overcoming the root issues that cause stress and anxiety must be met with a lot of self compassion and total a lifestyle change.
Of those lifestyle changes, one of the most important to consider is making sure you’re getting proper nutrition with a healthy, balanced diet. There are super-foods that can help cure your symptoms as well as not-so-super foods that will contribute to stress in the body, upset hormone balance and brain function and in turn increase anxiety. Therefore, as important as it is to implement the following 10 Superfoods that fight stress and anxiety, be sure to avoid all fried foods, high glycemic carbs, unrefined sugars, and alcoholic beverages. If you have racing thoughts, and an already elevated heart rate you might also want to consider avoiding caffeine as it can trigger panic attacks.
Consuming foods that are high in vitamin C can reduce stress on the body and add support for the immune system. While you can supplement with vitamins as they can be helpful in lowering stress hormones, getting it straight from nature’s source is always the best option. Try adding lemon to your water, oranges and grapefruits to salads and having a whole fruit post-workout!
Wouldn’t it be nice if anti-anxiety medication tasted like chocolate? Oh wait – it does! Dark chocolate that is 70% cacao or higher can help reduce stress at a molecular level. All of the nutritious goodness in chocolate can improve brain function and mood. Again, I have to reiterate chocolate cake doesn’t necessarily count. Be sure to get high quality, fair-trade dark chocolate for your after-dinner medicine/dessert.
Maca is a natural superfood you can add to shakes and other raw recipes. Maca is known for its natural energy and stamina boost as well as its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Most popular of course is it is known ability to improve sexual function and desire.
Almonds & Walnuts
Almonds and walnuts are some of the most nutrition nuts you can add to your diet. These nuts are high in healthy fats and minerals like Zinc and Iron which help balance mood. Someone with low mineral levels may suffer from brain fatigue, anxiety and low energy.
We are mostly water – so its easy to understand that staying hydrated will keep our body functioning at its best. Coat-tailing on #4, minerals including magnesium are super important for feeling balanced and relaxed.
Salmon is a rich, flavorful, fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These Omega’s specifically have shown to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone that causes belly fat. The Omega’s found in salmon can also help reduce depressions and protect your body against heart disease, and get this one – PMS!
Whole grains and other complex carbohydrates can cause the brain to increase serotonin production which helps to stabilize blood pressure, create a feeling of calm wellbeing and reduce stress on the body. Be sure to only reach for sprouted whole grains in their most natural state like brown rice, sprouted grain bread, quinoa and steel cut oatmeal. Avoid ‘whole wheat’ items like pasta!
Kava is a shrub that is grown in the Pacific Islands that when harvested can offer similar physical effects to alcohol. It has been used for centuries to help with stress, anxiety and sleeplessness by affecting the level of neurotransmitters in the body which affect mood.
Not just for sushi anymore! Seaweed contains high levels of tryptophan, an amino acid which can cause a feeling of relaxation by increasing ‘feel-good’ serotonin output. It is also high in magnesium which helps muscle tissue relax.
High Antioxidant Berries
Berries are loaded with vitamin C, and an antioxidant called anthocyanin as well as important minerals. Could berries be a key to satisfying your sweet tooth while keeping your stress and anxiety at bay? They have been known to lower blood pressure, lower cortisol and increase cognitive function. Grab a handful fresh or frozen and get to snacking!