From workplace stress to financial stress to, well, COVID stress, it seems stress can be pretty hard to avoid (especially in this day and age). That’s why it’s important to have ways to relieve the tension when you’re experiencing it. Some find certain stress-reducing supplements and vitamins helpful, while others might use more short-term relievers like chewing gum (it’s a thing). Otherwise, a simple walk in the park has been shown to dial down stress.
Another natural way to combat the strain you might be feeling is through food. Certain foods (and drinks) include properties that naturally calm the body, while also providing nutrients that are often depleted as a result of stress. If you’re sitting on the more highly strung spectrum, it can’t hurt to incorporate some of these veggies, seafood and fruits into your diet.
Sweet potatoes are ridiculously good for you and according to Healthline, can help lower the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body. While these levels are usually regulated, chronic stress can through it out of balance. A study from 2019 found that women who ate a diet rich in sweet potatoes over eight weeks had significantly lower levels of salivary cortisol compared to those who ate a diet high in refined carbohydrates.
This leafy green vegetable is packed with minerals including magnesium, which, as Healthline points out, plays an important part in how your body manages stress. Low levels of this mineral can be associated with conditions like anxiety and given that stress can deplete your levels of magnesium, swiss chard is a great way to refuel.
Not only is matcha completely delicious but it’s also packed to the brim with L-theanine — a non-protein amino acid that is known for its ability calm stress. In fact, studies have shown that if the L-theanine content is high enough and the caffeine content low enough, matcha can make a marked difference to stress levels.
Eggs are lauded for their nutritional profile, which includes vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants that are integral for producing a healthy stress response. According to Healthline, eggs are abundant in choline — a nutrient that can only be found in large amounts in some foods — and, has been shown to play a role in promoting brain health and in turn, may help to protect against stress.
Shellfish lovers rejoice! Mussels, clams and oysters are high in the amino acid taurine, which your body needs to produce neurotransmitters like dopamine and are essential for regulating the stress response. In fact, Healthline says that some research indicates taurine to have an antidepressant effect for some.
Blueberries are both tasty and good for you thanks to the flavonoid antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. In fact, blueberries may help reduce stress-related inflammation while also protecting against stress-related cellular damage. This fruit has also been shown to help boost your mood, so grab a handful when you need a little pick-me-up.