Food plays a huge role in mental health. Research suggests that certain foods, such as polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3 fats and vegetables, can help control levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences, nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B, selenium, and magnesium are helpful in reducing stress. Unhealthy eating habits can increase stress levels exponentially and increase the risk of future health problems if left untreated. Following are some important foods that help in reducing stress.
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Dark Chocolate: Eating dark chocolate can help reduce anxiety. Dark chocolate contains flavonols, such as epicatechin and catechin, plant compounds that act as antioxidants. A study in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that eating dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more (rich in polyphenols and flavonoids) lowered cortisol levels.
Carbohydrates can temporarily increase serotonin levels. It improves mood and reduces stress. Once serotonin levels increase, people under stress have better concentration and focus. Limit white foods, including cookies, cake, white pasta, and white bread.
According to a study published by the Harvard School of Public Health, unrefined carbohydrates cause sudden spikes and crashes in blood sugar.
Avocado: Avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that these healthy essential acids help reduce stress and anxiety, increase concentration, and improve mood. Apart from this, they also contain phytochemicals, fiber and essential nutrients. A study published in the journal Nutrition suggested that avocados were associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, as well as a lower risk of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that include high blood pressure and obesity.
Fish: Fish can fight stress and help prevent heart disease. These omega-3s can help alleviate depression. Because nutrients easily interact with brain molecules associated with mood.
Calcium-rich foods are beneficial for bone health. But this nutrient may help reduce depression, according to a study published in the journal Nutrition Research and Practice. Milk and other dairy products, rich in calcium and vitamin D. These help relax muscles and stabilize mood. Calcium has also been found to ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
Nuts are packed with nutrients including B vitamins along with healthy fatty acids. Experts say B vitamins are an important part of a healthy diet and can help reduce stress. Almonds, pistachios, and walnuts may help lower blood pressure.
Some studies have found that high doses of vitamin C can help reduce stress. Vitamin C was reported to reduce stress in people taking 500 mg per day.
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