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10 Healthy Foods That Calm & De-Stress

Deadlines at work, kids on holidays, social calendar out of control...this is when we may reach for a quick fix or a convenient 'excuse' of a meal. The truth is what you eat helps (or hinders) the stress response so by making better food choices you will be better equipped to manage when things get tough. Stress is linked to just about every disease under the sun so it makes sense to minimise it's effect whenever possible.

10 Stress-Busting Foods

1. Berries - high in antioxidants and Vitamin C. During times of stress our body utilises more Vitamin C than usual leading to lowered immunity. Vitamin C has also been shown to assist with lowering blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

2. Dark Chocolate - contains polyphenols and flavonols (healthy antioxidants) and is a proven mood enhancer.

3. Fermented Foods - for example; natural yogurt, kumbucha tea & sauerkraut. We now know that 80-90% of serotonin (our feel good hormone) is manufactured in the gut. Without good bacteria and a balanced diet your serotonin making days are numbered.

4. Rolled Oats - the remainder of our serotonin is produced by the brain and rolled oats, being a complex carbohydrate, causes our brain to do just that.

5. Wild Salmon - excellent source of Omega-3s which studies have revealed can reduce stress and anxiety by more that 20%.

6. Green Tea - contains a host of antioxidants and an exceptional amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine is a powerful mood enhancer and green tea is an all round brain booster. Only brew to 80 degrees celsius.

7. Cashews - great source of zinc and taste delicious. Low levels of zinc have been associated with both anxiety and depression.

8. Avocado - packed with stress-relieving B vitamins. B Vitamins are needed for healthy nerve and brain cells and deficiency can result in feelings of anxiety.

9. Turmeric - the active ingredient of turmeric is called curcumin - adding to its already impressive line-up of benefits it also reportedly lowers cortisol levels. Add some turmeric to your curry, try a turmeric latte or consider supplementation.

10. Leafy Greens - rich in folate (B9) which is important in the production of mood regulation neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.

So the next time you are stressed out and tempted to reach for 'another' coffee and sugar laden snack think about how much better you will feel when you dampen down the stress levels and give your body a chance to recalibrate.

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