Certain foods contain nutrients that can help keep stress at bay. Here are some of my top choices:
Bananas are natures natural antidepressant, they contain the amino acid tryptophan, which makes your body produce serotonin, which in turn helps to boost your mood.
Sweet Potatoes are another natural mood-lifter, packed with naturally stress-lowering benefits and rich in various nutrients that can help to lower depression. Not to mention the fact they’re a nutritional powerhouse and high in potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6, amino acids and, like bananas, contain tryptophan. The high magnesium and potassium value in sweet potatoes also help them reduce blood pressure levels, which is a common indicator of stress.
Avocados they are loaded with B vitamins and good fats, which are great for helping against stress and anxiety as they nourish healthy nerves and brain cells. Smashed avo on toast anyone?
Oats are a complex carbohydrate that help to boost serotonin production and help lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Leafy greens – especially spinach – are high in magnesium, which is so important for energy production in the body. So, it’s no surprise that deficiency in magnesium can trigger anxiety, panic attacks, and depression. So when stressed why not switch the second coffee out for a green smoothie on coconut water with bananas, oats, avocado and baby spinach !
Black beans are also high in magnesium, which helps to relax the nervous system while at the same time balancing stress hormones. Add them to salads, rice, soups, chilli.
Chia, sunflower and sesame seeds are great stress relievers and are high in magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, calcium, and even iron and fibre. Throw a small handful of seeds into your porridge, smoothie or sprinkle over salads.
Berries are a rich source of vitamin C and antioxidants which help protect the brain and improve your mood. They’re great for health and so wonderfully versatile; you can use them in an abundance of ways from adding them to sweet dishes or topping them onto savoury salads.
And here's a recipe for the ultimate Stress Relieving Green Smoothie!
Stress Relieving Green Smoothie
Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves: 2
· 2 cups fresh spinach packed
· 1/2 cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
· 1/2 medium avocado peeled and pitted
· 1 frozen medium banana
· 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or milk of choice or coconut water
· 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/8 teaspoon ground turmeric
· 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
· Tablespoon of nuts and seeds
· Place all ingredients into your blender. Blend on high speed for about 45 seconds or until smooth and creamy.
· Pour into two serving glasses.
If you'd rather your smoothie be a bit sweeter, add some honey or pure maple syrup to taste.
Author: Marie Holland, Clinical Nutritionist. Being a mum of three, she has seen first-hand what effects small changes to our diet can make to our children's behaviour and health. She can provide you with evidence-based nutritional information and support which is tailored to your unique lifestyle, goals and circumstances, along with making it simple and sensible.Find out more about her work HERE.