8 Foods That Help Reduce Stress

Corona-virus – Covid-19 – The Pandemic.  This world event has brought great stress to our own backyard, our own family, our own life.  I remember when I first heard the term “Stress”. I was in a workshop and it – stress - was used as a verb to describe what myself and fellow college students may have been experiencing.  “It” was described as part of life and the workshop offered tools of dealing with “it” in healthy ways.  That was many years ago and my life has seen stress of almost every type.  However, this pandemic has provided a new type of stress – more along the lines of “things outside of our control” – which is still familiar – but, yet, at the same time unfamiliar.  During this new normal of everything “Online”, I’ve presented a number of classes: Boosting our Immune System, Senior Health, Pain and Inflammation etc… and, … Stress.  Every presentation included foods that provide protection again that presentations’ particular medical issue i.e.: salmon – Immune System.  I was sure the average person would never consider that foods could actually positively effect our body’s molecular processes and ultimately help prevent the very diseases that contribute to much of the stress individuals deal with every day.  Along with the fact that there are foods that can protect us against and help us prevent diseases, below are the foods that offer these very same answers.  But first – Hippocrates had it right:“Let food be thy medicine, and they medicine be thy food”.

So, how does that work.  The idea is to eat foods that increase levels of the “happy hormones” – serotonin and epinephrine – and cut the levels of “sad hormones” – cortisol and adrenaline.  Protect your body and promote health by choosing some of these immune system supporting foods that increase production of happy hormones and help reduce stress and it’s affects.

Spinach

Spinach, green leafy’s, wild-caught salmon and tuna, avocados, dark chocolate and more provide just protection from a variety of diseases as well as lowering the stress hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. 

 

Vitamin C  

Oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens and more. “Studies suggest this vitamin can curb levels of stress hormones while strengthening the immune system. In one study of people with high blood pressure, blood pressure and levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) returned to normal more quickly when people took vitamin C before a stressful task.”   (WebMD)

 

Fatty Fish, Avocado’s & Nuts

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon and tuna, avocacos and nuts and  such as walnuts and pumpkin seeds can prevent surges in stress hormones and may help protect against heart disease, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).  There’s also the bonus that Omega 3’s promote skin and brain health.

 

          

Pistachios and Almonds

Pistachios and Almonds may help lower your cholesterol, ease inflammation in your heart's arteries, reduce the risk of diabetes and protect you against the effects of stress.  Just a handful (only) each day is beneficial.

Complex Carbs

Complex carbs: whole-grain breads, pastas, & cereals as well as oatmeal, provide a steady supply of serotonin – the feel-good chemical/hormone called the “happy hormone”.  Another benefit: these carbs stabilize blood sugar levels. 

So, in addition to exercise, relaxation practices and other methods of reducing stress add some of these foods that promote health and provide the body with nutrients that encourage the release of happy hormones.