Anxiety, anyone? Don’t despair! These are our tips on the best stress-busting foods and a few to avoid. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on the mind and body. Although it’s impossible to entirely avoid life’s stressors, we can avoid anxiety inducing foods as well as take advantage of those that have stress-relieving nutrients.
- Swiss chard - just one cooked cup of this leafy green has 36% of the recommended daily intake of magnesium. Low magnesium levels are linked to anxiety and panic attacks. So hedge your bets and eat your greens as well your My New Tum MULTI, which contains 400g of magnesium.
- Sweet potatoes - keep cortisol levels in check by eating whole, nutrient rich carb sources like sweet potatoes. Chronic stress causes cortisol dysfunction which may result in inflammation and pain. Thanks, but no thanks.
- Kimchi - it’s not just a lifestyle trend, this fermented vegetable dish has serious health and stress-relieving credentials. It’s packed with probiotics, high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Studies have shown it has beneficial effects on mental health due to its interactions with your gut bacteria, which directly impacts your mood.
- Whole eggs - jam packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and antioxidants, whole eggs have all the elements needed for a healthy stress response. They’re also rich in choline, which has been proven to play a crucial role in brain health, it may protect against stress.
- Parsley - studies suggest that antioxidant rich diets may help prevent stress, anxiety and depression. Thankfully, this tasty herb is full of carotenoids, flavonoids and volatile oils - all of which have antioxidant properties.
- Sunflower seeds - they make a great snack or topping on a salad, and they’re a rich source of vitamin E, which is a fat-soluble vitamin that is a powerful antioxidant. Sunflower seeds are also high in stress-reducing nutrients including magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, copper and B vitamins.
- Garlic - high in sulfur, which helps increase levels of the antioxidant glutathione, it is a crucial part of your body’s defense against stress.
- Blueberries - delicious and nutritious, these tasty treats are linked to a number of health benefits including improved mood and safeguarding against depression. Packed with flavonoid antioxidants they protect the brain and prevent inflammation.
- Fatty fish - salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel are all rich sources of omega-3 fats and vitamin D. Omega-3s help your body manage stress and are essential for mood and brain health. While low levels of vitamin D are linked with an increase of anxiety and depression.
- Broccoli - celebrated for their health benefits, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, may reduce your risk of depression, certain cancers and heart disease. They are nutrient dense and packed with magnesium, vitamin C and folate that have all been proven to fend off depressive symptoms. Broccoli is rich in the sulfur compound, sulforaphane, that protects the brain and may offer antidepressant effects. It is also packed with vitamin B6, which is linked to a lower risk of depression and anxiety in women.
- Alcohol - a wise man once said: “Here’s to alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” A favourite go-to for instant stress-relief, it actually has the opposite effect on the body. Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and the brain’s neurotransmitters, which make anxiety worse. It also has a negative impact on hydration and sleep, which can trigger anxiety symptoms.
- Added sugar - consuming large amounts of processed sugar can bring on feelings of irritability, worry, sadness and contribute to overall anxiety. Too much added sugar causes your blood sugar to spike and crash while your energy levels go up and down. When blood sugar crashes, so does your mood, causing anxiety levels to spike.
- Caffeine - too much caffeine reduces the production of serotonin and increases anxiety and nervousness, resulting in a depressive mood.
- Refined carbs - refined carbs have been stripped of a lot of their micronutrients and fibre, which in turn has been associated with an increased risk of serious health issues including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and anxiety.
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