Many people would do just about anything to alleviate their stress and worry. This kind of desperation can lead to making rash decisions, which can have potentially dire consequences on overall health and well-being.
When you’re stressed out, you may be tempted to use food as a coping mechanism. Craving foods loaded with sugar, salt, and simple carbohydrates can make you feel worse by causing your blood sugar to spike and then crash.
Consider typical comfort foods like mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, and ice cream. Your brain might crave these foods when you’re stressed. Your brain might even tell you that bingeing on these foods will help alleviate your stress.
But, if you listen to your stressed-out brain, you may end up feeling worse. These high carb foods can increase your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This can make it more difficult to calm your anxious thoughts.
Foods that Cause Stress & Anxiousness
Foods that contain sugar and gluten can trigger pleasure centers in your brain, which might keep you reaching for unhealthy foods. Let’s look at some foods you should avoid:
Corn – Eating corn or corn-based products can make you more anxious and stressed. Corn is high in carbohydrates, which can spike your blood sugar. Corn is also high in starch, which can leave you feeling drowsy and lousy.
Sugar – Processed, sugary treats can seem irresistible when you have low mood or energy. Your brain might try to convince you that you’ll have more energy after grabbing a snack from the fridge at home or vending machines at work. However, soon after the sugar rush, you’ll experience an energy crash, which can leave you feeling lethargic and unable to focus.
Wheat – Wheat-based products (bread, tortillas, toast, etc.) can be difficult to drop from your diet. When these carbohydrates are processed in your body, they’re immediately broken down into sugar. Gluten in wheat can damage your intestinal lining, but switching to healthier foods – like fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and proteins – can help enhance well-being.
Since stress is one of the most common triggers for emotional overeating, reducing your anxious thoughts can be an important part of improving your eating habits. These 5 calming foods can promote calm when you feel anxious or stressed…
5 Calming Foods to Boost Your Mood & Relieve Stress
Poultry is an excellent source of tryptophan, an amino acid that your body can’t produce on its own. Tryptophan is necessary for the creation of serotonin, one of the brain’s primary mood-regulating chemicals. As more tryptophan enters the brain, it facilitates circuits that use serotonin, which can then improve your mood.
Be sure to purchase organic, free-range poultry that hasn’t been pumped full of hormones or antibiotics. Also, make sure your bird has been kept in an air-chilled case at the store.
Berries are one of the most concentrated sources of antioxidants in the plant kingdom. The greater the variety of berries you eat, the broader the antioxidant protection you’ll have.
Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are all high in antioxidants. The antioxidants in these berries help protect the brain and the rest of the body against oxidative stress, including from toxic pollutants.
3. Dark Chocolate
Chocolate is one of the ultimate comfort foods. The very taste of chocolate can produce a near euphoric state in many people. Dark chocolate is full of protein and fiber, improves blood flow to the brain, and supports a positive mood and healthy cognition.
Multiple research studies have shown that dark chocolate slows down the production of cortisol. Also, chocolate promotes the brain’s release of dopamine and endorphins and boosts serotonin levels, all of which help create a more positive mood.
4. Green Tea
Green tea contains GABA, the brain’s major calming neurotransmitter. Additionally, green tea contains l-theanine, which is known for reducing stress and worry while improving mood, focus, memory, and mental alertness.
Green tea is just one of the many healthy varieties of tea. Many herbal teas, such as chamomile, have calming properties, and black, white, and red (rooibos) teas are rich in antioxidants. Drinking a cup of warm tea can help relieve stress and lift the spirits.
5. Leafy Greens
Spinach is loaded with mood-moderating magnesium. Raw spinach is so nutritious, some people believe it contains bliss-enhancing nutrients. It’s a good source of fiber and is loaded with vitamin A, potassium, folate, and magnesium.
In addition to leafy green vegetables, different colored vegetables, such as bell peppers, squash, broccoli, and cauliflower, all have tremendous health benefits. They provide an enormous array of vitamins, essential minerals, carotenoids, and free-radical blocking antioxidants to help protect the brain and body against toxins.
To help boost your calm, try these good mood foods the next time you feel anxious or stressed!
At BrainMD, we’re dedicated to providing the highest purity nutrients to improve your physical health and overall well-being. For more information about our full list of brain healthy supplements, please visit us at BrainMD.
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