7 Foods That Can Help Relieve Stress
While poor food choices like ice cream and potato chips might offer a temporary break from stress, there are healthier options that can offset stress over the long term.
Incorporate these foods into your diet to find an inner calm the healthier way.
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Chronic stress can weaken your body's ability to fight diseases. Foods high in antioxidants, like blueberries, can help boost your immune system to combat damage done during your most anxious moments. Antioxidants have also been linked to sharper cognition and heart health. Eat this super food in smoothies, on top of cereal, with salads or just as a snack.
Spinach, Kale or Swiss chard
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These leafy greens are high in magnesium, a mineral that helps promote calmness. Every organ in the body needs the mineral magnesium, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, because it helps activate enzymes and contributes to energy production, which might help you through a stressful afternoon. Conversely, too little magnesium can cause anxiety and restlessness. Add spinach to your omelets or morning green smoothie and make a salad at lunchtime or dinner.
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The ultimate comfort food, oatmeal is a complex carbohydrate that causes your brain to produce serotonin, an imbalance that can influence mood and lead to sadness and stress. As a complex carb, it also helps to stabilize blood sugar; this will help you squash the unhealthy cravings when you start to feel stressed. Find this feel-good chemical in whole-wheat bread, pastas and whole-grain cereals as well.
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Citrus fruits are packed with vitamin C, which helps to fight illness and works to keep you healthy under stress. Drink a glass of fresh-squeezed citrus juice in the morning or keep an orange in your bag to have when you feel stress coming on.
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Fish touts many heart health benefits, according to the American Heart Association. The benefits come from high levels of omega-3 fatty acids—salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and bluefish have the highest doses. These fats help you manage adrenaline levels, allowing you to keep calm when needed. Fish also reduces inflammation and promotes healthy blood flow, both symptoms of chronic stress.
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Low levels of zinc have been linked to anxiety. Since there's no way to store zinc, getting a dose every day is important. Nuts are a good source of zinc, especially cashews. Plus, they have tryptophan, which boosts serotonin. Walnuts, a great source of omega-3s, are another go-to stress-relief snack. Add them to a salad, put them on top of your oatmeal, or chop them up and coat your chicken in them.