If you’re stressed to the max, you are not alone. Stress is certainly on the rise, along with burnout. And, while we know that behavioral interventions like exercise, meditation, getting enough sleep, and working with a mental health professional can be incredibly beneficial in managing stress, food is something not as commonly talked about. Did you know that utilizing food can be another powerful resource and tool to help you manage and lessen feelings of stress? Ahead, learn more about stress-busting foods, plus why blending some of these ingredients into a stress-relieving smoothie may be a beneficial addition to your current wellness routine.
What Are Stress-Relieving Foods?
Stress-relieving foods are packed with a spectrum of essential nutrients to help your brain combat the physiological experience of anxiety and stress. There are a few key nutrients that have been found through research that help to decrease anxiety and stress in both human and rat models. Let’s take a look at some specific ingredients and how they can help you manage your stress and anxiety.
Stress-Relieving Smoothie Ingredients
Cashews are rich in zinc and magnesium, both of which have been linked to help lower feelings of stress and anxiety. Magnesium has been shown to be a major player in helping to regulate specific neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for our mood. In times of stress, magnesium is excreted by the body, making magnesium something to replenish, particularly in times of stress. Pumpkin seeds are also an excellent source of both zinc and magnesium and can easily be added to smoothies.
Leafy greens are incredibly nutrient-dense and will give you the array of nutrients that your mental health needs to thrive. Like cashews and pumpkin seeds, spinach is packed with magnesium. Spinach is also plentiful in Vitamin C, making spinach an excellent anti-inflammatory food. This is important because anxiety is thought to be correlated with a low total antioxidant state, which necessitates the need for adding more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet when you are experiencing stress.
Berries are the perfect addition to any smoothie because of their high antioxidant content, including phenolic compounds and Vitamin C, helping to lower levels of inflammation in the body and brain.
Cacao and dark chocolate are rich in flavonoids, plant compounds that have been shown to give us health benefits. They are also abundant in magnesium and zinc, making them a perfect stress-relieving food addition to your smoothie. Try adding a handful of raw cacao nibs or a tablespoon of unsweetened cacao powder for a healthy chocolate boost!
Another perfect anti-inflammatory food to add to your smoothie is avocado as they are packed with magnesium and healthy fats. Avocados also contain an array of B vitamins, which are particularly important for your mood and overall mental health. Try adding frozen avocado cubes to your smoothie for added creaminess.
Yogurt contains helpful bacteria that improve the health of our gut as well as our mental health as there is a strong connection between our gut health and our mental wellbeing. One study from 2017 reports that consuming more fermented foods such as yogurt was associated with lower levels of social anxiety. Other foods rich in probiotics may also help to decrease levels of inflammation in the body.
Mix and Match to Make a Delicious Stress-Relieving Smoothie
Ready to incorporate some of these delicious foods into your diet? I would encourage you to experiment by adding different combinations of these foods with other fruits and leafy greens to get the perfect stress-relieving smoothie that your brain and your taste buds love.
This is my go-to smoothie.
- 1 cup of almond milk
- One handful of spinach
- One tablespoon of cacao powder
- One handful of blueberries
- ½ of a banana
Blend and enjoy!
Supercharge Your Diet With Stress-Busting Foods
While we often think about the role food plays in our physical wellbeing, research also shows a connection between certain foods and mental wellness. Consider supercharging your diet with these stress-relieving foods by starting with a simple daily smoothie. It’s a quick and easy addition to a healthy eating plan that may make a big impact.
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