The short answer is yes. While almost everyone is aware that diet impacts weight and physical health, not as many are aware that diet can influence our mental health too. Additionally, the mere thought of what you should or shouldn’t be eating, and the guilt that comes with it, causes negative thoughts and emotions. A healthy diet can do wonders for your stress levels, especially when paired with exercise, meditation, and other mental health practices, such as FocusCalm’s brain training app.
How to Choose a Healthy Diet to Reduce Stress
Eating healthy is easier when there are healthy options already in your kitchen. If you are feeling stressed already, it’s likely your decision making skills are compromised. This means you might be more likely to opt for chinese takeout than cook a nutrient-rich bowl of veggie pasta. Choosing healthy ingredients at the grocery store, and grocery shopping regularly, can prevent unhealthy decisions in the future.
What Are Healthy Food Choices for Stress Management?
Certain foods are known to stabilize moods. Incorporating these foods into your diet may be able to reduce stress.
- Complex Carbs – Complex carbs, such as whole grains, peas, blueberries, and sweet potatoes, are good options for stress reduction. These can increase your brain’s serotonin production and stabilize blood pressure.
- Magnesium – Magnesium can be found in pumpkin, spinach, dark chocolate, avocados, and more. Ingesting foods that contain this mineral can alleviate headaches, fatigue, and premenstrual mood swings. It may also improve sleep quality.
- Omega- 3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3 Fatty Acids is a polyunsaturated fat that can be found in salmon, tuna, chia seeds, almonds, canola oil, and more. This type of fatty acid can reduce stress hormone spikes, and protect against heart disease, dementia, depression, arthritis, and premenstrual syndrome.
- Vitamin B – This vitamin can increase neurotransmitters such as serotonin, GABA, and dopamine, all known to increase pleasure and decrease anxiety. Opt for foods rich in Vitamin B, such as chickpeas, chicken, asparagus, oatmeal, and yogurt.
- Vitamin C – Oranges, lemons, and other citrus fruits, which are high in vitamin C, can reduce stress by decreasing your cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone.
- Herbal Supplements and Tea – From chamomile to mint to passionflower to valerian root, many herbal teas have a calming effect and are effective at reducing insomnia.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices Can Reduce Stress
Eating a healthier diet can greatly improve your physical and mental health. Considering the foods you eat as fuel for not only your body, but your mind as well, may help you train your brain and body to feel better, have less stress and improve your overall outlook on life. Learn more about FocusCalm today!