Eating well at times of high stress is extremely important for your body and physical well-being, but also for your mental health and strength. Whether it’s just a snack or a full blown meal, taking time out to nourish your body and mind can have a huge impact on how you feel. Cooking can also help to relax and take your mind off whatever you’re worried about, and you never know, you could surprise yourself with your cooking skills!
Here’s some key ingredients that are proven to help with stress:
It's tempting to go straight for a cheeseburger when you're feeling low and you just want some comfort food, but instead, go green. Leafy greens like spinach contain folate, which produces a pleasure-inducing chemical, dopamine, which helps you keep calm.
If carbs are something you just can't live without, instead of reaching for a doughnut, try a more complex carb like oatmeal. It may sound boring but you can add in your favourite spices and fruit to make it much or interesting and tasty. Overnight Oats are a great way to start the day and there are literally hundreds of variations to keep it fresh – check out the simple recipe here.
Salmon is rich in omega-3 and you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's known to help keep your adrenaline from flaring when you’re feeling tense. Smoked salmon with some eggs is a perfect brunch option!
If you are a chocoholic, then this one's for you. Dark chocolate can reduce your stress hormones and contains unique natural substances that create a sense of euphoria, similar to the feeling of being in love, so no wonder we love chocolate so much!
They may only be small but don't be fooled - they pack a serious punch of antioxidants and Vitamin C to help with feelings of stress. You can always put them in a smoothie (with banana and yogurt) to help you get your fix.
Milk is a great source of vitamin D, a nutrient that can boost happiness, it also contains protein lactium. This helps relax the body by lowering blood pressure as well as potassium which relaxes muscles. If you prefer non-dairy milk just check out the ingredients of your chosen brand, many will have added vitamin D, calcium and protein, making them just as good as regular milk in nutritional content.
These are packed with Vitamin B, which gives you healthy nerve and brain cells to help stamp out feelings of anxiety.