Stress Relieving Foods « Health Now, Wealth Forever

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By Marilyn, on April 24th, 2013

With all the news lately, our levels of stress could be going high.  The April/May issue of Natural Grocers has a great article about using healthy foods to fight stess and bringing calm.  Here are the foods  Jack Challem gives some very good advice, “Healthy foods provide good general nutrition for your brain so it can function at its best, but some foods contain specific nutrients that have a direct impact on stess and mood.” Here are the foods that can help you.

  • Veggies:  Did you realize gut bacteria can influence mood?  Researchers found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus increases the brain’s level of GABA(gamma amino butyric acid), a calming neurotransmitter.  Crunching raw vegetables can unclench your jaw.
  • Berries:  Raspberries, blueberries(organic—avoid GMO or pesticide laden fruits) are powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants.  When stressed, we secrete inflammation-promoting chemicals in the body and brain which researchers call neuroinflammation.  So the berries can ease your aches and pain and improve your moods.
  • Nuts:  Nuts have both proteins and healthy fats.  Nuts “ help stabilize blood sugar fluctuations, which can cause irritability and feeling of stress.”  Added plus is the nuts’ fat sate our taste buds and again just crunching  the nuts relieves stress.
  • Alaskan salmon (wild-caught):  It is according to Jack Challem, the ultimate brain food.  The rich omega-3s in the fish or fish oils are essential for protecting against stress and maintaining healthy moods.  “Scores of studies have shown that these nutrients support healthier moods and reduce the risk of depression, anxiety, impulsivity and aggressiveness which can be aggravated by stress.”
  • Citrus fruit:  There are studies that show vitamin C reduces blood pressure and cortisol response in subjects in stressful events.  Stress reactions in people with high levels of vitamin C don’t have the same mental and physical reactions as people who have low levels of vitamin C.
  • Grass-fed beef:  Cattle that eat grass which is “loaded with alpha-linolenic acid, the parent of EPA and DHA” digest the grass and convert it to EPA and DHA.  Stress-reducing vitamin B is also found in beef, plus the protein stabilizes the blood sugar swings helping reduce moodiness.
  • Avocados:  Avocados contain many wonderful stress reducers.  Vitamins B, oleic acid, the same healthy fat in olive oil, and potassium which helps keep blood pressure low.
  • Sage:  British researchers used capsules of essential oil of sage in a study of sage reducing stress and found that students who took the sage capsules felt more alert, calm and content for two to six hours after taking it.  Also, their memory was improved.
  • Asparagus:   This is rich in the anti-stress B vitamins, especially folate.  Folate is important in the production of serotonin.  The high fiber content also helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Green tea:  The EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), a potent anti-oxidant, and L-theanine act like a neurotransmitter to increase calm and improve mental focus.
  • Eggs:  “Eggs contain large amounts of the B-vitamin choline, which has been shown to modulate the stress response by lowering levels of cortisol.   A deficiency of choline may change the way the brain responds to stress.”  Tryptophan is also found in eggs.  Tryptophan is important for producing serotonin.

Eating these stress reducing  foods as Jack Chellam states, “Your brain will thank you.”

Chellam, Jack.  Feel Good Foods.  Natural Grocers Health Hotline, April-May 2013.  Pp 9-11.