A few weeks ago we posted an article on avoiding burnout. That article touched briefly on how essential it is to eat well and stay healthy when you are feeling stressed at work. We did additional research on this topic, and came up with a list of the best foods to eat when you are stressed.
Forget everything you’ve read or heard about emotional eating being a bad thing. Eating when you’re under stress doesn’t need to have negative connotation. If you reach for the right foods, snacking when stressed can actually help calm your nerves. Listed below are some great foods that can help subdue your stress.
Almonds are the best choice. They’re rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps strengthen your immune system, and they’re chock-full of B vitamins, which are believed to help your body create energy. You only need a quarter cup serving of almonds once a day to reap this super food’s benefits. If almonds aren’t your thing, or you simply want to switch things up a bit, try cracking open a few pistachios. A handful of these green meanies a day can lower blood pressure and may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Packed with vitamin C, oranges are already associated with strengthening the immune system, but they can do much more than that. Vitamin C is believed to help reduce stress by stopping the secretion of cortisol, the hormone responsible for triggering the “fight or flight” response to threat. If you don’t have time to peel and eat an orange, you can always pour yourself a glass of Florida’s finest.
Thick and hearty, this warm treat is perfect for keeping stress under control. Oatmeal is crammed with carbohydrates, which are thought to make the brain produce serotonin, the chemical linked to feelings of happiness and well-being. Oatmeal is also really high in fiber, which means it will take your tummy longer to digest it. This is great news! The longer it takes your body to absorb carbohydrates, the steadier your serotonin production will be. Avoid ready-made, overly processed oatmeal and instead take the time to make some good old-fashioned oats. Too bad this rule doesn’t also apply to oatmeal cookies!
When I was a child my mom used to serve me warm milk before bed, touting its calming effect. Turns out mom was on to something. In addition to being high in B vitamins, milk contains calcium, which is believed to reduce muscle spasms, stabilize blood sugar, and ease tension. One 8-ounce glass a day is all you need to keep stress at bay.
These tasty treats are high in magnesium, the ultimate stress buster. Magnesium helps the body in numerous ways such as maintaining a steady heart rhythm, regulating blood sugar levels, and promoting normal blood pressure. Dried apricots are also high in vitamin C and fiber. While they’re easy to snack on, it’s important to be mindful of how many you consume since they contain high amounts of fructose (sugar).
High fat fish like mackerel, salmon, herring, and albacore tuna contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are linked with keeping adrenaline and cortisol from spiking. Since it may not always be convenient to keep fresh salmon in your desk drawer, you can always opt for fish oil pills. The next time you feel your stress levels rising, reach for one of the above mentioned foods. You may be surprised at how great they make you feel.
Are there any foods that help you relieve stress after a long day that we didn’t mention?