Deadlines, commitments, and daily routines can contribute to a rise in your stress hormone levels. Next time you’re feeling life’s pressures, try these 7 superfoods to help you stay balanced and centered.
Leafy greens, most green vegetables, and citrus fruits are loaded with folate. Studies show that those who eat leafy greens and vegetables have higher emotional states and are at a significantly lower risk of exhibiting symptoms of depression.
How to: Add asparagus, avocado, spinach, oranges or strawberries to your grocery list to enjoy as a snack or with a meal.
Stress often causes an increase of cell-damaging free radicals within your body. The best way to counteract this cellular damage is by providing your body with antioxidants and phytonutrients – good news, blueberries are high in both! Blueberries are also high in Vitamin C, helping to lower blood pressure and cortisol during times of stress.
How to: Enjoy them in a smoothie, oatmeal, yogurt or on their own for a delicious snack.
- Nuts and Seeds
Some nuts and seeds are high in magnesium, a nutrient that helps increase energy levels can help you fall asleep, and helps reduce feelings of anxiety and irritability. Note – be aware of how many seeds you are having as they are high in calories and could push you into a caloric surplus.
How to: Include cashews, almonds, or pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower seeds in your baking or enjoy these as a small snack.
- Chamomile and Lavender Teas
These plant-based teas are a classic for naturally reducing stress and anxiety as well as muscle tension.
How to: They are naturally caffeine free so having a cup before bed can help you fall asleep with ease.
- Greek Yogurt
Your gut and your brain work closely and send messages to each other. This is why you may experience digestive issues when you’re feeling nervous or anxious. Having a healthy gut is just as important for brain health as exercise, and eating probiotic-rich food, like yogurt, can help alleviate the symptoms of stress.
How to: Parfaits, smoothies, yogurt bowls, the options are endless. I recommend going for plain flavours to avoid added sugars and dress it up yourself using fresh fruit or pure honey.
- Dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
Is anyone else smiling right now? Research shows that having a healthy indulgence in dark chocolate can help regulate stress hormones. A couple squares (not the whole bar) can provide you with antioxidants that help to lower blood pressure, improve circulation, and improve your mood.
How to: Enjoy a couple squares of dark chocolate every week to experience the benefits. Aim for something that is at least 70% cocoa.
- Maca Root
This powder superfood is trending for its many stress-fighting benefits. It is high in free-radical fighting antioxidants, boosts mood and energy levels, and is adaptogenic, helping to manage cortisol levels and fight adrenal fatigue.
How to: Add 1 -2 tsp(s) to smoothies, yogurt bowls, oatmeal or ice cream. Include up to 1 tbsp in your next batch of no-bake energy bites or add it to your favourite salad dressing recipe. Note – maca powder is best used without cooking or baking it.
½ cup frozen blueberries
¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp maca powder
1 handful of spinach
Water, as needed
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional)