With the right nutrients, your body can overcome most types of internal and environmental stress. Our bodies are often out of balance with poor diet playing a huge part in our body’s coping mechanisms. While meditation, exercise, and other mindfulness techniques also help with stress, you will be fighting an uphill battle unless you start by consuming foods with stress-fighting properties.
Magnesium manages the stress hormone cortisol, and other essential minerals also help your body relax and come into harmony with its environment. Carbs and certain vitamins give your brain what it needs to produce beneficial neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which help manage stress. Each of the following five foods contains a piece of your nutritional stress-fighting puzzle:
Potassium helps lower blood pressure, so snack on a convenient banana the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Magnesium reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and healthy Swiss chard packs magnesium in abundance.
Folate is used to make dopamine in your brain, and spinach is one of the best vegan sources of folate.
Your body needs lots of carbohydrates to keep up with serotonin synthesis, so snacking on healthy, complex carbs in white rice can give you an instantaneous stress release.
Pistachios are a great source of potassium, which makes these green nuts surprisingly similar to bananas
Bananas are excellent sources of potassium, which reduces your blood pressure. Increased blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common sign of chronic stress. Over time, hypertension can lead to serious cardiovascular conditions, so eating a banana a day is a great way to keep stress in check.
Bananas are usually available fresh in their peels, but you can also eat bananas dried. Plus, bananas are incorporated into many smoothies and other fruit treats that are inexpensive and easy to prepare.
While it is commonly known that bananas contain potassium, not many are aware of the beneficial properties this mineral has. Potassium plays a critical role in cellular functioning and blood pressure reduction which are vital processes for us to lead healthy and happy lives.
Slice up your bananas and put them on top of your cereal or vegan yoghurt. It is an easy way to add some nutritious qualities to your breakfast or a lunchtime snack. Homemade banana bread is also a delicious way of using not so fresh bananas and turning them into a healthy and low calorie desert. With only a few tweaks you can also make this banana bread vegan or gluten free.
Magnesium helps your entire nervous system calm down, which is why it is useful for sleep. This essential mineral also soothes stress by reducing levels of cortisol, the hormone responsible for triggering feelings of terror or being overwhelmed. Magnesium helps you find your inner zen, and Swiss chard packs this mineral in abundance.
Swiss chard has a more powerful taste than other leafy greens, and it also has a thicker central portion. Therefore, it’s usually eaten boiled, but cooking chard this way could reduce its benefits.
Magnesium is often overlooked as a stress aid, and not many people are aware of Swiss chard’s high magnesium content. Swiss chard is also a great source of other nutrients, but its magnesium content is what makes it such a great stress-beater.
Here’s a recipe for a simple, vegan Swiss chard dish with garbanzo beans.
Spinach contains folate, an essential B vitamin that is necessary for the production of dopamine, serotonin, and other important neurotransmitters. It’s often difficult for vegans to get adequate folate since this substance is most commonly found in animal products. Spinach, however, provides the stress-fighting folate your body needs to feel good and relax.
Spinach tastes great raw—you can snack on baby spinach leaves right out of the package to get an instant folate boost. It’s also easy to bake, boil, or cook spinach in a variety of other conventional ways.
It’s well-known that spinach contains iron, but it surprises people to learn this leafy green also contains B vitamins and vitamin C.
There are plenty of spinach recipes to show you the healthiest ways to cook this nutritious green. Simply stir-frying spinach with garlic and olive oil, and seasoning with soy sauce and pepper you will create a perfect addition to any basic pasta meal.
Nothing beats stress like some honest-to-goodness carbs, but we bet you didn’t know why. The truth is that complex carbs, like those present in white rice, provide your body with the building blocks it needs to make serotonin, which makes you feel good and relaxed.
There are many forms of white rice, and some are stickier than others. You need to cook rice before you eat it, and it stays good for 2-3 days when refrigerated.
While it is true that white rice has a high glycemic index, this attribute is actually a benefit when it comes to stress-busting. There are few better sources of complex carbs, and white rice also contains more essential vitamins and minerals than you would expect.
Try some vegan fried rice with spinach and Swiss chard. If you’re feeling adventurous, add a few shelled pistachios for flavour.
Like bananas, pistachios contain lots of potassium. They are also rich in healthy fats, which can help provide your body with long-lasting, stress-defeating energy.
After you shell the first few, you’ll find eating pistachios to be as addictive as it is nutritious. One of the few dishes that contains these nuts aside from the shelled nuts themselves is pistachio ice cream.
It’s common knowledge that pistachios contain fatty acids just like other tree nuts. The fact that pistachios contain potassium, however, often takes people by surprise.
Try this delicious pistachio pudding the next time you need some inspiration in your kitchen.