This is Part 2 of a four-part series on stress-reducing foods, and is a follow-up to a previous article, My Diet is Making Me Anxious? on the links among diet, inflammation and mood disorders, specifically anxiety. If you missed Part 1 of this series, you can find that here.
Since our diets are a major component of our lifestyle choices, they are a significant contributing factor in the development of stress and anxiety. Fortunately for us, there are also several foods that help our bodies to reduce stress and anxiety, build immunity and create more balance – naturally. The next five of these stress-reducing foods are listed here:
6. Chamomile Tea – One of the most recommended bedtime soothers around. Studies have shown that chamomile can lead to a significant drop in anxiety symptoms. There is also some evidence that, in addition to calming nerves, chamomile promotes sleep. Drink up!
7. Dark Chocolate – Chocolate contains healthy antioxidants, which make it one of the most heart-healthy foods, AND it also has an undeniable link to mood. There’s some evidence that, in moderation, chocolate does actually make you feel better. Additionally, dark chocolate, is known to lower blood pressure, adding to a feeling of calm. It contains more polyphenols and flavonols—two important types of antioxidants—than some fruit juices. Yum!
8. Garlic – Garlic is jam-packed with powerful antioxidants. These chemicals neutralize free radicals (particles that damage our cells, cause diseases, and encourage aging) and may reduce, or even help prevent, some of the damage that free radicals cause over time. Garlic also contains allicin, which helps prevent heart disease, cancer, and even the common cold. We all know that stress weakens our immune system, so we need foods like garlic to toughen it back up!
9. Grass-Fed Beef – It’s not only better for the planet, it’s also better for people! Grass-fed beef has more antioxidants—including vitamins C and E and beta-carotene—than grain-fed beef, and doesn’t have added hormones, antibiotics, or other drugs. And while it’s lower in fat overall, it’s about two to four times higher in Omega-3s. Higher levels of Omegs-3s have been linked with a lower risk of a host of disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, and inflammatory disease.
10. Green Tea – While it does contain caffeine, green tea also has an amino acid called theanine. In addition to protecting against some types of cancer, green tea is a brain booster as well, enhancing mental performance. Drink up to two cups each day.
Stay tuned for Part 3 coming up soon! Enjoy happy and healthy eating!