Stress and daily hassels – (small stressful events) cause our cortisol levels to rise. Cortisol causes food cravings, and in women those cravings tend to be strongest for carbs, especially sweet foods, according to researchers at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center. The more of them we eat, the worse our mood gets.
You may have a specific food that makes you feel better when stress kicks in, but there’s a huge difference between tapping into a food’s inherently calming properties and using any food as a kind of emotional anesthesia.
So when we talk about calming foods, we don’t mean so-called comfort foods. We mean meals and snacks that will truly soothe and calm you. Whether it’s because of the specific nutrients they provide or the steady, reliable source of energy they give you, they’ll get you through the day feeling focused, even, and balanced—so you’ll have the ability to conquer anything!
Here are 10 healthy foods with natural stress relieving properties, to get you through the end of 2014.
They are high in folate, which is essential for keeping your cool.
These creamy fruits stress-proof your body. Rich in glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage, avocados also contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and more folate than any other fruit.
Blueberries have some of the highest levels of an antioxidant known as anthocyanin, and they’ve been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition.
Cashews are an especially good source of zinc—a 1-ounce serving has 11 percent of your RDA. Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression.
5. Chamomile tea
A study from the University of Pennsylvania tested chamomile supplements on 57 participants with generalized anxiety disorder for 8 weeks, and found it led to a significant drop in anxiety symptoms.
Dark chocolate, in particular, is known to lower blood pressure, adding to a feeling of calm. It contains more polyphenols and flavonols—two important types of antioxidants—than some fruit juices. You can safely allow yourself dark chocolate as a snack once a week, or as a conscious indulgence, and still stay on track with your weight loss results.
Among the compounds in garlic is allicin, which has been linked to fending off heart disease, cancer, and even the common cold. Because stress weakens our immune system, we need friends like garlic, which can toughen it back up.
8. Green tea
While it does contain caffeine, green tea also has an amino acid called theanine. Researchers at the University of Illinois say that in addition to protecting against some types of cancer, this slimming food is a brain booster as well, enhancing mental performance.
A complex carbohydrate, oatmeal causes your brain to produce serotonin, a feel-good chemical. Not only does serotonin have antioxidant properties, it also creates a soothing feeling that helps overcome stress.
Another vitamin C powerhouse, oranges have the added benefit of being totally portable. That tough skin keeps them protected while they’re bouncing around in your purse or backpack, meaning you can tote them anywhere.
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