Stress seems to have become part and parcel with modern day living. Unfortunately the taxing nature of long-term stress is manifesting itself in a rather unsustainable mentality – a work-focussed agenda with very little time allocated for relaxation, mindfulness and digital detoxes.
While there are various ways to reduce your stress-levels, like meditation, keeping fit, allocating adequate down-time and getting plenty of sleep, there are also certain foods that can assist in keeping the calm.
These deliciously silky fruits are a favourite around the world. Known for their creamy texture, avocados are also considered to be one of the best stress-busting foods.
Rich in essential nutrients such as magnesium, vitamin C, and B as well as pantothenic acid, the ingredients in avocados all help to support the adrenal gland, which assists in managing cortisol and reducing our stress levels.
Seeds like pumpkin and sunflower seeds are rich in magnesium – a mineral we often find lacking in times of stress. They also contain levels of vitamin E that help prevent free-radical damage.
The beautiful colour of the blueberry comes from anthocyanins. These phytonutrients help support the production of dopamine in the brain which can ease anxiety and promote calm.
Beetroots contain betaine, a neutral chemical compound that stimulates the production of methionine, or SAM-e, an essential ingredient in the production of dopamine – our feel-good neurotransmitter. Pop a couple in your morning juice, or roast with some delicious goats cheese for a warming dinner.
Gut-loving fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchee, tempeh, kombucha and kefir all contain high levels of probiotics. These probiotics all help to promote a strong and healthy gut full of diverse bacteria. Keeping the calm in the gut is so important, as up to 90 per cent of our serotonin is in the gut – so healing and maintaining a healthy gut is integral to better mental health and a calmer, less-stressed mind.
As if you needed more of an excuse to indulge in a daily dose of chocolate – cacao contains mood-boosting substances such as theobromine and anandamide that have all been known to have positive effects on the brain.