Getting to know what exactly you need to eat for remaining focused and calm is the first step towards successful stress management. Healthy and balanced diet promotes good health, thus helps in dealing with stress. Below is a list of foods that will help you in getting relieved from stress.
Foods to be included in diet
- Protein rich foods – Proteins are made of amino acids. An important amino acid for managing stress is tryptophan. This amino acid will regulate or increase a chemical availability called ‘serotonin’, an important brain signal transmitter. Protein rich foods will increase serotonin levels that help to maintain your mood optimal throughout the day. Lean meat, chicken, cottage cheese, tofu, yoghurt, etc., are some good sources of protein.
- Complex sugar foods – These sugars take more time to breakdown and release energy, so they provide energy in regulated levels and prevent from being excited (cause of stress). They also increase serotonin levels and optimize mood. Brown rice, chocolates, beans, peas, millet, barley, potato, kidney beans, etc., are some foods that contain complex sugars.
- Vitamin rich foods – Vitamins and anti-oxidant helps in reducing effects of stress. They reduce production of stress hormones and also increase serotonin levels. They also maintain nerve cells lining which is important for signal transmission from brain. Broccoli, asparagus, peas, strawberries, red berries, orange, grapefruit, soybeans, kale, sardines, salmon, mackerel, etc., are good sources of vitamins.
- Foods rich in magnesium and calcium – These two minerals have great effect on stress. Proper magnesium to calcium ratio is to be maintained with high levels of magnesium. Magnesium will inhibit action of stress hormone ‘adrenaline’ (increase stress). Cabbage, spinach, broccoli, okra, kidney beans, lentils, soybean, fish, cheese, etc., are rich in calcium and magnesium.
- Garlic and onion – Though they are used in less amounts, still they are effective in reducing stress and induce good sleep.
Foods to avoid
- Food that contain high amount of caffeine – Intake of coffee and tea should be limited as these contain high amount of caffeine that can cause your brain and nervous system to excite and produce stress hormones in higher quantity.
- Avoid junk foods or fast foods – They are rich in bad fats and increase stress.
- Beverages – Soft drinks, preserved foods like canned meats, butter, pickles, etc., also increase stress.
- Flavored foods – These foods may have some additives which have bad effects on health. For example, chips, chewing gums, etc.
- Fat containing foods – Foods rich in saturated and trans fats should be avoided because they increase stress levels and deprive you from sleep. For example, some vegetable oils like palm oil, coconut oil, etc.
Diet plays a key role in managing your stress. Make a separate chart of foods that relieve stress and manage your stress.