International Stress Awareness Week 2019: Foods to eat for stress relief

Some foods boost the levels of serotonin and other foods reduce the levels of cortisol and adrenaline. By including both in our diet, we can control stress.

Myupchar November 05, 2019 12:34:34 IST
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International Stress Awareness Week 2019: Foods to eat for stress relief
  • A fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon keeps the cortisol levels in check

  • Not many people are fans of oats or oatmeal, but oatmeal is a good source of serotonin

  • Green leafy vegetables and other raw fruits and vegetables may not sound exciting, but they are actually stress-busting powerhouses

Our health, both mental and physical, depends a lot on our hormone levels. Happily, some foods boost the levels of serotonin - a brain-calming chemical. And other foods reduce the levels of cortisol and adrenaline - the stress hormones. By including both in our diet, we can control our stress quite effectively.

During International Stress Awareness Week (4-8 November), let’s dig into the top stress-busting foods:

International Stress Awareness Week 2019 Foods to eat for stress relief

Representational image. Image source: Getty Images.

1. Salmon: A fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon keeps the cortisol (stress hormone) levels in check. It can also protect against depression, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and heart disease. Eating 3.5 ounces (99 grams) of salmon twice a week is enough. Salmon is also a good source of vitamin D, which other than being good for bone health, can also help to fight against depression.

Have it like this: Pan-cooked in butter and herbs on a very low flame for about 7 minutes. 

2. Blueberries: Apart from being delicious, full of antioxidants, and heart-healthy, blueberries can also help manage stress. Blueberries produce dopamine, a stress-fighting chemical. 

Have it like this: Add them in your smoothie or eat them plain. 

3. Green-leafy vegetables: Most of us think that junk foods are the best stress busters and green leafy vegetables are just too boring, but the truth is quite the opposite. In fact, green leafy vegetables and other raw fruits and vegetables may not sound exciting, but they are actually stress-busting powerhouses. Rich in magnesium, leafy greens help in regulating cortisol and blood pressure levels. Not only this, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are also a good source of folate (vitamin B9), which boosts the production of the feel-good chemical dopamine in the body.

Have it like this: To make a spinach omelette, saute about 100 grams of spinach with butter. Add two eggs (beaten and seasoned), and let it cook for about 2 minutes on each side. Cooking for the family? Saute about four cups of baby spinach till it loses more of its moisture. Add six eggs (seasoned). Let it cook very briefly in an oven-safe pan. Add a bit of feta cheese. Move the pan to a preheated oven to get a fluffy frittata going.

4. Avocado: Avocados are rich in vitamin C, monounsaturated fats, potassium, fibre, and above all, vitamin B6. Vitamin C and vitamin B help in reducing stress, whereas potassium helps in regulating the blood pressure.

Have it like this: Replace that mayo on your sandwich with buttery and healthy mashed avocado or just add it to your favourite salad and enjoy its immense benefits. 

5. Oatmeal: Not many people are fans of oats or oatmeal, but oatmeal is a good source of serotonin. Oatmeal is a complex carb which is digested slowly and keeps the blood sugar in control. 

Have it like this: With warm milk and fruit for breakfast, or with hot water (just enough to cover the oats), nuts and raisins for a healthy evening snack.

6. Tea: Tea is an all-time favourite stress-buster for most of us. According to one study, drinking more than five cups of tea in a day can keep stress and anxiety away. The market is flooded with a variety of tea - lemon tea, green tea, ginger honey tea, black tea, the list goes on and on. Research shows that some teas — like chamomile, kava, lavender, lemon balm and passionfruit tea — are especially helpful to reduce anxiety.

Have it like this: Steep your favourite tea in hot water for up to four minutes and sip it in your fav corner in the home or office.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, please read Green Tea: Benefits.

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