Every now and then, we all find that stress can start to get on top of us and start to feel a little too much. It’s a rough feeling when you feel overworked and low on sleep, or when your finances are weighing on your mind or your relationship isn’t going the way it should.
What’s the answer?
Well, one trick is just to get eating. That’s right–eating can enhance your mood and combat stress, especially if you make sure you are eating the right things. Read on and we’ll take a look at some of the best stress relieving foods you can add to your diet to transform your mood.
Apples are filled with all kinds of important health benefits and we’re discovering more all of the time. For starters, apples are an excellent source of vitamin C, which increases serotonin, decreases the stress hormone cortisol and fortifies the body against infection and disease.
At the same time, apple juice is also a very good source of energy and contains the brain enhancing epicatechin. More on this one in a moment…
Perhaps the biggest surprise recently is that apple and apple juice can both increase the production of acetylcholine. This is one of the brain’s most important neurotransmitters and is particularly important for memory and focus. When the brain is functioning well, it is happy!
Cacao was historically sometimes referred to as the "elixir of the gods." This is not only because of its delicious taste but also because of its many health benefits. Cacao will immediately boost the mood by raising endorphins including the "love hormone" oxytocin.
On top of this, cacao also contains the aforementioned epicatechin. This increases blood flow to the brain, which helps to make us more alert, focused and creative–and which is great for combating stress.
3. Green Tea
Green tea is full of antioxidants that can help to combat the negative effects of stress on the brain, as well as other very beneficial nutrients.
One particularly good cup of green tea is yerba mate. This is a type of green tea that was historically enjoyed by Charles Darwin, who called the beverage the world’s greatest stimulant.
That’s pretty high praise from someone who certainly knows their stuff!
What makes yerba mate so effective is its inclusion of multiple different xanthines.
Positively Tea's Yerba Mate is completely organic, pure and very affordable. It gives you the best bang for your buck!
Importantly, green tea contains l-theanine which can counteract the stimulating properties of caffeine, resulting in a ‘gentle’ focus that many people find highly favorable.
Want to impress your friends with babies and show off what a great parent you are/will be?
Just wait until they feed their child, then offer to hold it. You’ll look like some kind of baby-whisperer because they will fall immediately asleep!
The secret is the magnesium, which can help to relax the muscles by releasing stored calcium. What’s more, is that magnesium triggers changes in the brain that get us ready for sleep. And when we’re ready for sleep, we’re in a state called ‘rest and digest’, i.e. not ‘fight or flight’, i.e. not stressed.
Milk is a great source of magnesium, or you can also get it from supplements!
Eating an avocado isn’t going to immediately reduce your stress, but it may just be a good way to prevent yourself from getting stressed in the first place.
Why? Because stress is very often caused by low blood sugar. Ever heard of hangry? When your blood sugar dips, your body panics and this results in feelings of anxiety and ill temper.
But if you can start your day right, with a big dose of healthy fats, then you’ll have a supply of slow-release energy that should keep you functioning throughout the day. Avocado is just such a great source of slow-release energy and is a prefect choice for breakfast as a result.
6. Tuna Fish
Tuna fish has been considered brain food for a long time now and its benefits apply to your mood as well as your cognitive dexterity. The advantages come from the high quantity of omega 3 fatty acid, which is an essential fatty acid.
This fat has plenty of great benefits in the body but among the most important are its ability to increase cell membrane permeability (helping the brain cells to communicate more freely) and its ability to reduce inflammation in the brain by improving your ratio of omega 3 to omega 6. Inflammation in the brain is thought to lead to brain fog, stress and depression – so protect yourself with tuna!
Eggs are brain food in many important ways. Not only will eggs provide you with a ton of the benefits we’ve already covered (they are a source of omega 3 and healthy fats), but they will also supply you with choline – a natural precursor to acetylcholine.
On top of all that, eggs are a complete source of amino acids, which the body uses to create all of its neurotransmitters.
Berries are one of the very best sources of antioxidant in town and this is very important when it comes to combating stress. Berries can help to boost your mood in the short term but they’ll also protect your brain against damage in the long term, keeping you happy and healthy!
The reason that’s so important is that tryptophan just so happens to be a precursor to the feel-good hormone serotonin. And guess what turkey is packed with? That’s right… tryptophan! That means it’s more potent than the over-the-counter solution. Note that serotonin converts into melatonin eventually (the sleep hormone), which is one more reason you always fall asleep after Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner!
Finally, another way to boost your mood is to focus on your gut. The gut is often referred to as the second stomach, and this is with good reason. Our guts contain important healthy bacteria which are responsible for producing a number of crucial neurotransmitters to enhance our mood. This also helps us to better absorb nutrients and it prevents illness and infection.
As well as yogurts, other sources of healthy cultures can combat stress in the short and long term – try fermented foods like kimchi.
The Best Solution
Introducing all of these foods into your diet can do wonders for relieving and preventing stress. However, you might be thinking to yourself that's a lot of food! A great way to get most of the benefits from these foods in one is to take a supplement.
We recommend Organifi. It's an awesome green juice packed with many of the nutrients we've mentioned above but conveniently combined into one. Just mix it in water or make it into a smoothie with your favorite fruits and boom, you're good to go. Give it a try here.
Are there any we missed? Let us know your picks for the best mood-boosting foods in the comments section below!