6 Foods to Reduce Stress and Nourish Your Body

6 Foods to Reduce Stress and Nourish Your Body

Six foods to reduce stress and nourish your body.

Understanding Cortisol Levels

We all have stress from time to time. But when it goes on for weeks, or months, chronic stress can impact all the body’s systems—especially the adrenal glands, small organs that rest on top of the kidneys and are responsible for releasing important hormones. One of these is cortisol, a stress hormone that regulates energy, reduces inflammation, and regulates blood pressure and blood sugar. It also controls the sleep/wake cycle: it fluctuates during the day, increasing in the morning when you need to wake up, and decreasing at night when it’s time to sleep.

If you’re in a state of constant tension and anxiety, the adrenal glands may not be able to keep pace and produce the necessary hormones to help you cope. The result: a condition called adrenal fatigue, includes symptoms such as nervousness, sleep problems, body aches, and depression. While adrenal fatigue isn’t exactly “recognized” by the medical community, many naturopaths and integrative practitioners treat it as a true syndrome. In general, a diet that avoids sugar, caffeine, refined grains, and alcohol is recommended. And certain nutrients that relieve stress, promote calm, reduce inflammation, and balance blood sugar can also help. 

6 Stress-Reducing Foods

 

Kefir

.Better Nutrition

 

Studies suggest that bacterial imbalances in the gut contribute to stress and anxiety. Naturally fermented kefir is rich in beneficial bacteria, which improve gut health, reduce anxiety, lessen stress, and may protect against inflammation. Probiotic bacteria also improve serotonin levels and can produce GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and eases tension. Low levels of GABA have been linked with increased anxiety.

Recipe tips: Combine kefir with rolled oats, chia seeds, dried cherries, and vanilla extract, and refrigerate overnight for an instant breakfast bowl; make a zesty dressing with kefir, minced garlic, jalapeño peppers, and cilantro; strain kefir through a cheesecloth overnight, then mix in minced chives and garlic powder for a creamy spread.

 

Turkey

.Better Nutrition

 

It’s high in tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to serotonin and melatonin. (Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that promotes calm and relieves stress, while melatonin is a hormone that enhances sleep.) Studies show that tryptophan lessens anxiety and also improves sleep, even at doses as low as 250 mg—the amount in just one serving of turkey. Turkey is also rich in high-quality protein that minimizes blood sugar spikes and enhances energy. Vegan sources of protein and tryptophan include kidney beans, white beans, and peanuts.

Recipe tips: Spread turkey slices with mashed avocado, layer with arugula, red onions, and shredded carrots, and roll up; combine cooked turkey cubes with celery, scallions, dried cranberries, and kefir; sauté cooked turkey with mushrooms, onions, garlic, and spinach, and toss with spiralized sweet potatoes.

 

Sunflower Seeds

.Better Nutrition

 

They’re rich in protein and B vitamins, which keep the adrenal glands healthy and improve the body’s response to stress. Studies show that thiamine (vitamin B) protects the adrenal glands from exhaustion and reduces the body’s reaction to cortisol. Pantothenic acid (vitamin B) may buffer cortisol and enhance adrenal function, and deficiencies have been linked with compromised adrenal function. Niacin (vitamin B) helps the body convert tryptophan to serotonin, and also improves sleep. And pyridoxine (vitamin B) is necessary for the synthesis of GABA, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters that protect against stress. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of zinc, which has mood-regulating and anti-anxiety effects. Studies have linked low blood levels of zinc with increased feelings of anxiety.

Recipe tips: Combine sunflower seeds, kale, parsley, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a food processor, and blend into a zesty chimichurri sauce; soak sunflower seeds overnight, then drain and purée with kefir, olive oil, and apple cider vinegar for a healthy mayo alternative; combine sunflower seeds with mashed kidney beans, minced red peppers, and shredded carrots, then form into burgers.

 

Tea

.Better Nutrition

 

Some varieties of tea can help relieve stress and anxiety and protect the adrenals. Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that enhances the production of calming neurotransmitters. While it contains caffeine, research suggests that L-theanine offsets caffeine’s stimulatory effects. Studies also show that L-theanine induces alpha-brain wave activity, which correlates with a perceived state of relaxation. Rooibos, made from the leaves of the African red bush, has a balancing effect on cortisol levels. And it’s caffeine-free. Chamomile (also caffeine-free) has been shown in many studies to relieve anxiety and stress and improve sleep. All three also contain antioxidants that protect against inflammation.

Recipe tips: Make a strong rooibos tea, stir in honey and vanilla, then add ice and almond milk for a cooling latte; make a soothing digestive tea with chamomile, peppermint tea, fennel seeds, and chopped ginger; blend matcha green tea powder with kefir and bananas.

 

Red Peppers

.Better Nutrition

 

Red peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps support adrenal function and balance cortisol. In some studies, vitamin C improved the ability of the adrenals to adapt to surgical stress and normalized cortisol levels. Other studies show that vitamin C reduces anxiety, minimizes stress, and improves mood.

Recipe tips: Halve red peppers, remove seeds, stuff with sautéed collards, leeks, and cooked quinoa, and roast until tender; combine chopped red peppers with zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and oregano, and simmer until tender; simmer puréed roasted red peppers with pasta sauce, Kalamata olives, capers, basil, and red pepper flakes for a puttanesca sauce.

 

Collard Greens

.Better Nutrition

 

They’re high in magnesium, a mineral that helps relieve stress, as well as folate, a B vitamin that’s essential for the production of neurotransmitters that mitigate anxiety. Spinach, chard, turnip greens, and kale are also excellent sources of magnesium and folate.

Recipe tips: Simmer chopped collard leaves, red peppers, ginger, and curry powder in coconut milk; sauté shredded collard leaves in olive oil with chopped black olives, garlic, and cumin; steam whole collard leaves until tender, then use as a wrap for cooked chickpeas and quinoa.

Written by Lisa Turner for Better Nutrition and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

Featured image provided by Alice Pasqual

Healthy Eating for Stress Relief

One of the best ways to prevent stress is to make sure you’re eating right! 

Poor nutrition and eating junk food (especially sugar) has not only been linked to increased stress levels, but has also been shown to lead to depression.

At MariGold, we create snacks that have premium quality ingredients that are designed to treat your body well by helping you to feel full longer and keep your blood sugar levels in check.

Everything is low (or no) sugar and is non-GMO, gluten & soy free, grain-free, hormone & antibiotic free, gluten & soy free, sucralose & sugar alcohol free. 

MariGold Grass-fed Whey Isolate Protein Powder contains 26+ grams of 100% pure, cold processed and micro filtered protein for mixing in your favorite smoothies or drinks. Our WPI contains L-Tryptophan, as well as amino acids L-lysine and L-arginine, which have been linked to reducing anxiety and lowering basal cortisol levels.

In addition, your brain uses amino acids to make neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. Making sure you’re getting enough high quality amino acids is good for your overall brain health

You can find our premium quality Whey Protein Isolate in our Protein Bars as well.

Many of our products also contain non-GMO Sunflower Lecithin. Due to its high concentration of phosphatidylcholine and other phospholipids, lecithin is used to help promote a healthy brain.

You’ll also find L-Glutamine in our Protein Bars as well as our flavored Whey Protein Isolate (Rich Chocolate Malt & Creamy Vanilla), which not only promotes a healthy gut, but also plays a role in the brain’s ability to produce GABA, a neurotransmitter formed from glutamine that is known to have anxiety reducing benefits.

Grab a delicious MariGold Snack, sit back and...relax...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

0
    Shopping Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop
      Calculate Shipping

      How are my Protein Bars Shipped?

      MariGold Protein Bars
      Your MariGold Protein Bars will be shipped with ice and super chilled before being sent to you. We also make every bar to order so they’re incredibly fresh when they are shipped.
      Be aware that it is normal for the ice pack to melt during shipping.
      The ice pack and special liner will keep your bars chilled during their journey to you.
      If your bars are not still cool when they arrive we want you to know that they are perfectly safe to eat.

      Even the most perishable bar we sell has a 14 day un-refrigerated shelf life.

      Please visit our FAQ page for more information.
      Send this to a friend