Good food is not only the cornerstone of a healthy diet, it does wonders for your mental health as well. If you’re feeling down, include the following anti stress foods in your diet – you’ll feel better, both in mind and body.
Berries, citrus fruit, strawberries. These foods are high in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that helps promote a healthy cardiovascular system. And now new research suggests another benefit of vitamin C: mood enhancer. One serving of fruit (about a cup) is enough to reap the mood-enhancing benefits of vitamin C, but go for four or five servings of fruit a day.
Suggested preparation: Wash berries, de-hull strawberries and eat fresh! You may also top your morning oatmeal or muesli with a cup of berries.
Grapes . Grapes are technically a berry, and they contain lots of vitamin C, but they deserve their own category because they are a good source of resveratrol which is thought to promote longevity and have cardio-protective benefits. Resveratrol supplements are now widely available to those who want to further increase their intake of this valuable phytonutrient.
Suggested preparation: Add grapes (or raisins) to a green leafy salad for a taste and textural contrast.
Nuts and seeds. High in protein and vitamin E, these nutrient powerhouses help stabilize blood sugar levels and may also help prevent heart disease. Their high fat content, however, makes some people hesitant to include them in their healthy diet. But the fats in nuts and seeds are healthy monounsaturated fats which help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
Suggested preparation: Add chopped walnuts to plain yogurt, bake cashews into a loaf of bread or add sunflower seeds to your favorite poultry stuffing recipe.
Good carbs. Sure, that candy bar will make you feel better, but the sugar high from simple carbs will just as quickly lead to a crash, leaving you as down as you were before. Reach instead for some whole grains, legumes and cereals. Complex carbohydrates increase the body’s levels of serotonin, the calming anti stress neurotransmitter. Foods that take longer to break down provide a sustained release of energy, so your blood sugars levels don’t spike and crash.
Suggested preparation: Top whole wheat pasta with a simple homemade tomato sauce, or make your favorite sandwich with whole wheat bread instead of regular white bread.
Spinach, broccoli, asparagus. These foods rich in folic acid may help you beat the blues. Some studies associate low levels of folic acid with depression. Folic acid is essential in the production of red blood cells is needed in neonatal development, which is why pregnant women are advised to take a folic acid supplement.
Suggested preparation: Steam asparagus and serve with a lean protein like fish or tofu, or add broccoli to a quick stir fry with oyster sauce and some cooking wine.
Carrots, sweet potatoes, squash. Yellow and orange vegetables are excellent sources of beta-carotene, which enhances immune systems function and plays an important role in reproductive processes.
Suggested preparation: Cut up all these veggies, toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast in an oven to caramelize their natural sugars.
Chocolate. The ultimate feel-good food, chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins and boosts serotonin, making you feel calmer and happier.
Suggested preparation: Eat straight out of the package! But remember that chocolate has a high fat and sugar content, and limit your intake to half an ounce per day.
Eating these natural anti stress foods will make your body healthier and your day brighter!