For many people, stress is a way of life. Deadlines at work, family and all sorts of obligations and situations can create stress.
While feeling stressed might seem normal to you, stress can affect your physical and mental health. Headaches, insomnia and decreased productivity are all common problems that can stem from stress.
Exercise and relaxation are important when it comes to combating stress, but there are some foods that you should consider featuring in your diet in order to reduce how stressed out you feel.
Whole Grain Bread
Foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates like whole grain bread can prompt your brain to produce more serotonin, a chemical that your body produces naturally to help calm you down. Whole grain bread can also help to stabilize your blood sugar levels and make you more focused and productive at work.
Along with whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, cereal and oatmeal are excellent stress-busting food choices.
Oranges are packed with vitamin C, which can help keep you from getting sick when you're feeling run down. Oranges can also help to reduce your stress level by reducing your blood pressure and cortisol levels, which is a chemical that your body produces when you're feeling stress.
While there's no exact amount of vitamin C your body needs, an orange a day, in addition to that apple, may help keep the doctor away.
Almonds are loaded with vitamin B2 and vitamin E, as well as essential minerals like magnesium and zinc. With almonds, the vitamin E content is really what's going to help you reduce stress.
Vitamin E can help your body fight free radicals that can cause stress and lead to heart disease and other heart problems down the road. Almonds are high in fat, however, so limit your intake to one serving per day.
Consuming a lot of beef isn't the best idea for your health since it contains a fairly large amount of saturated fat. However, beef also contains iron, zinc and B vitamins, which can help to stabilize your mood and reduce your overall stress level.
Limit your beef intake to about 1 cup of lean beef to keep the fat content down. For a real stress-fighting meal, try combining lean ground beef with whole wheat pasta and fresh tomato sauce for a satisfying meal.
Tuna is often referred to as brain food, and it is true that tuna can help promote focus and concentration. Tuna is also good for reducing stress because of its vitamin B6 and B12 content.
Fresh, ocean-caught tuna is best, but if you can't find it in your area or just need a quick lunch, canned tuna packed in water or olive oil is a healthy choice.
Baked potatoes might be the perfect stress reducing food. While baked potatoes are loaded with carbohydrates that can make you feel instantly relaxed, they're also rich in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in serotonin production, and when you're stressed, you're likely deprived of it.
Baked potatoes can be really high in fat when you cover them in butter and sour cream, but there are other ways to use baked potatoes. For example, try letting your potatoes cool a little bit before adding them to a mixed greens salad with tuna.
Rich in folic acid, asparagus is one of those vegetables that you probably didn't like as a kid, but have learned to enjoy as an adult. The folic acid content in asparagus helps your body produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that scientists associate with joy and pleasure.
Asparagus makes an excellent side dish for other stress-fighting foods like tuna or a small serving of beef. You can even pair tuna with a baked potato and asparagus.
Fatty fish like salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can help reduce stress hormones that can damage your heart, alter your mood or simply make you feel irritable or depressed. Just like with tuna, fresh, wild-caught salmon is best, but frozen or canned salmon packed in water or olive oil is plenty healthy.
Bio:Marcela De Vivo is a health & beauty writer from Los Angeles. The experienced writer currently blogs for Skintrium writing on a variety of topics from skin whitening to general skin care.