Stressed? These Foods Can Help You Relax

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On a daily basis, many people are faced with stressful situations. Add everyday stress to the already hectic pace of our own lives, and you can end up frazzled and anxious. When you’re stressed out, some people also tend to eat poorly. such as by making quick and fast meals that are basically nutritionless.

But it’s exactly when you’re stressed that you need to eat certain healthy foods that are filled with the right kinds of nutrients to de-stress your life.

Foods That Can Help You Relax

Dark Chocolate

You’re probably surprised to see chocolate on the list but, dark chocolate has more endorphins than any other food. Dark chocolate contains over 300 different compounds that can help you with learning how to de-stress your life, including anandamide, which is known to replicate the effect that marijuana has on your brain, thus giving you a natural high. To reap the most benefits from this healthy food, choose dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more (if you don’t mind the slight bitter taste).

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Bright-colored vegetables and fruit

Eating healthy foods, such as those in the citrus family, bell peppers, kiwi, sweet potatoes, and strawberries can help you get rid of stress. These healthy foods contain generous amounts of vitamin C, which can be quickly depleted when you are under stress. The organ responsible for your stress response is the adrenal gland, and it requires a continual supply of this vitamin to manufacture stress hormones, which allow your body to adapt to stressful events. Vitamin C is also required for the proper functioning of the immune response, which is often challenged during periods of chronic stress.

When you are asking yourself how to get rid of stress, take a bite out of these healthy foods! I recommend consuming two to three servings of these foods on a daily basis.

Seafood

This family of food, including oysters, crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, contain large amounts of zinc, which is a mineral necessary to support the adrenal gland, fight infections, and enhance immunity. Chronic stress or disease can increase the requirements for zinc.

Other good sources of zinc include beef, pork, and chicken. Include these healthy foods in your diet to de-stress or to get rid of stress.

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Vegetables, legumes, and nuts

Increasing the consumption of these healthy foods is always a great idea due to the fact that they are nutrient-dense, high in fiber, and a great source of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that is required in larger amounts when your body is under stress, and most people do not consume enough magnesium in their diets in general.

If you are older, have a chronic disease, experience high stress levels, or consume a lot of alcohol, individual magnesium requirements are probably not being met. Magnesium is a mineral necessary for the regulation of blood pressure, blood sugar, adrenal function, and mood—all of which can be altered during times of stress.

How do you get rid of stress using these foods? I recommend consuming two to three servings per day of these foods to achieve the optimum amounts of magnesium and get rid of stress today!

In addition to those healthy foods, these soothing drinks can help you de-stress, as well.

Ginseng tea

Ginseng is an herbal root plant. It has been used for centuries as an “adaptogen,” meaning that it has been used to manage stress. Herbal adaptogens function to allow you to cope with the stress, fight fatigue, and improve energy, endurance, and concentration. There are several different types of ginseng tea; however, I think the Panax variety is the best choice.

To get rid of stress, drink tea two to three times per day during periods of high stress.

Passionflower, chamomile, valerian, or peppermint-ginger tea

In addition to ginseng tea, there are many other herbal teas that can help you de-stress. These teas are designed to induce relaxation by making you feel a bit drowsy and relaxed. In higher dosages, they can also help induce sleep. Most people find that these teas are more effective if consumed before bed; however, they can be used throughout the day safely if you are at home resting. I like the peppermint-ginger tea, because it can relax an upset stomach during stressful times. Drinking this tea throughout the day has been known to calm an upset, nervous stomach and improve digestion, so next time you want to know how to get rid of stress, try drinking these teas.

What healthy foods do you eat when you need to de-stress?


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Sources:
“Dietary supplements fact sheets,” Office of Dietary Supplements web site; http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-all/, last accessed June 11, 2013.
Murray, M. ND., Pizzorno, J. ND, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Prima Publishing, 1998, Pgs. 175-187, 607-608.