Psychological stress makes it challenging to function optimally at work, at home, or in your relationships. What’s more, chronic stress has been associated with a striking amount of health problems, like anxiety, depression, obesity, sleep disturbance, and digestive issues. Stress is a part of life. Rather than hoping to eliminate stress altogether, a good approach is to learn to manage it more effectively.
A plant-based diet offers an abundance of nutrients that can help you reduce the impact of stress on your body and functioning. Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains also help you support your overall physical and mental health. Below are 10 plant-based foods that naturally lower stress...
Along with natural dietary fiber, bananas offer potassium and magnesium, two minerals that deliver natural muscle-relaxing effects. Bananas also contain tyrosine. This amino acid stimulates the production of dopamine, the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. Bananas also provide another amino acid tryptophan, which may help you drift off to sleep faster after a stressful day.
Berries are super-fruit that pack a host of beneficial vitamins and minerals. Blueberries, strawberries, cranberries and acai are also rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. The high antioxidant content in berries is beneficial for brain health, helping you to focus and retain information better. Some berries like acai offer adaptogenic effects against stress by preventing hormonal imbalances.
Chronic stress can cause deficiencies in certain nutrients like zinc, which is vital for a healthy functioning brain. Cashews are a great source of zinc. They also provide healthy fats and plant-based protein that helps maintain blood sugar levels and provides a much-needed energy boost when you’re stressed.
Cherries contain potent antioxidants (anthocyanins and cyanidin) that neutralize free radical activity in the body that causes oxidative stress and inflammation. They are also a natural source of the hormone melatonin that controls the sleep-wake cycle. Eating cherries before bed can help you get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning.
Chocolate doesn't simply provide a mood boost because it's delicious— it also stimulates serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter relating to mood. It minimizes pain, improves the mood, and even benefits sleep. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidant flavonoids that help reverse free radical damage within the body.
Beans and lentils are another natural source of the amino acid tyrosine, which means they can support healthy dopamine production in the brain. These fiber-rich foods also help you full longer, helping you avoid post-meal energy crashes.
Leafy greens like collards and kale are rich sources of magnesium, an essential mineral related to brain health. Deficiencies in magnesium have been linked to low mood and anxiety, so getting enough of this nutrient could help lower stress.
Oats are a great source of dietary fiber, which supports fullness and keeps blood sugar levels stable. In addition, oats produce tryptophan, which is used by the brain to release serotonin. Therefore, eating oats can relieve anxiety and irritability, and improve your sleep.
Citrus fruits are perhaps one of the most well-known sources of natural Vitamin C. This vital nutrient helps boost immune health, which can be important to fend off sickness during particularly stressful times. Vitamin C also functions as an antioxidant, scavenging free radicals that stress the body’s cells.
Sweet potatoes contain antioxidant carotenoids, which help support mood and cognitive functioning by preventing free radical damage to brain cells. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of magnesium, which can help you have a better, brighter mood.
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