Recently, a friend of mine was incredibly stressed. She was working too hard at her job and also had boyfriend problems, so extreme stress was the result. As an avid health obsessive, I immediately recommended some foods she could eat that would relieve stress as, believe it or not, changing what you eat can actually relieve your stress. A stress relief diet is easy to follow too and doesn’t require spending any additional money, as many foods that relieve stress are foods you might normally buy. If you too are suffering from stress, why not incorporate some of these foods into your diet. You might be surprised at how good they make you feel.
Low Fat and Skim Milk – Probably one of the reasons I never seem to experience stress is because I drink so much skim milk. Milk actually helps your nerves stay healthy and, as it can stabilize your blood sugar, it also stops you from feeling those extreme highs and lows when you eat sugar. You can get enough milk in a decaf latte (if you’re stressed, stay away from caffeine, it will just make you feel worse), a milk shake or a cup of cocoa made with milk. You can also get the same result from a low-fat or fat free yoghurt.
Turkey – One of the top foods to help relieve stress is to eat turkey. Remember, over Thanksgiving when you stuff yourself with turkey and end up with that dopey feeling? Well, that’s the tryptophan in the turkey that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. You can eat turkey with a side of mashed potatoes and green beans, on whole wheat bread as a sandwich with a side of apple sauce, or even chopped up with mayonnaise and grapes and made into turkey salad (a bit like chicken salad but with a stronger taste).
Brown Rice and Sticky Rice – I live in Thailand and it’s a pretty well-known fact with Thais that brown rice will help relieve your stress level. Brown rice is also loaded with nutrients, and gives you a healthy boost of serotonin, which immediately makes you feel more relaxed. Sticky Rice is usually a white rice that is cooked until it presses together and is sticky. In Thailand, the favorite way to eat it is with mango and some coconut milk, or with sticks of chicken satay. A meal of chicken satay and sticky rice is guaranteed to make you feel relaxed, as Thais always warn against doing anything too strenuous after eating it. It makes you sleepy, but feeling so much less stressed.
Chocolate – Even though chocolate usually has caffeine, it’s also one of the best foods to eat in a stress relief diet. Actually, most doctors still can’t figure out why chocolate makes us feel so good, although some think it might be the antioxidants chocolate is loaded with. Either way, chocolate always makes me feel good, and I’m sure you’ve noticed that too. Just don’t eat too much of it or, when you gain 10 lbs, you’ll be even more stressed than before you tried to relieve your stress with chocolate.
Cheese – I’m a huge cheese fan and probably eat pounds of the stuff every month. Which is another reason why I probably never get stressed. Like low-fat milk, it helps your nervous system stay healthy and stabilizes your blood sugar. It also is high in calcium and protein. Eat low-fat cheese or cottage cheese and you’ll get the health benefits without all the calories. I must admit, I do splurge sometimes, as there’s nothing better than a big slab of melted brie on some whole wheat bread, and the bread is loaded with B-vitamins which help with stress too.
There are many foods that can be eaten as part of a stress relief diet; these are just some of them. Remember, whatever you eat to help reduce stress, make sure it’s not loaded with fat, sugar or caffeine and you’ll automatically feel better.