You Need to Try These 5 Foods Proven to Reduce Stress

If you want to stop stressing and start relaxing, changing your diet can make a huge difference. Of course, diet isn't everything, but these five foods can help you start reducing some of the effects of stress in your life.

Dark Chocolate

We've all heard the old adage, "you are what you eat." And it's really true. Everything we ingest affects us on some level—physically, mentally, and spiritually. So when we heard we could actually change our diet to accommodate our stress levels, we listened up. We found the top five foods to incorporate into our diet to reduce the stress load. And we're feeling quite relaxed about it! In a world that seems overwhelmingly stressful at times, let's treat our bodies well. Because change starts with self-care.

1. Popeye Had a Point: Eat Your Spinach

Anxiety.org

Everyone knows it's good to eat greens. But spinach is especially good for our stress levels! Spinach is naturally rich in vitamin E, which improves brain function and stimulates stress reduction. Spinach is also an excellent source of magnesium, which has a calming effect on the body. Plus, it's rich in vitamin B, aiding in the reduction of anxiety and depression levels. No wonder Popeye was so into it! Incorporate spinach into your meal routines by packing a spinach salad for lunch or sauteeing it as a side to any dinner dish. Learn more about the benefits of this superfood at anxiety.org.

 Need help adding more spinach to your diet? Try these delicious recipes!

2. Lemons for a Lighter Life

Healthy, Holistic Living

It's no mystery that lemons are jam-packed with health benefits. They're a rich source of vitamin C and have tons of cleansing effects on the body. Vitamin C greatly aids in the reduction of cortisol levels, which regulate the amount of stress channeling throughout our body at any given time. We recommend adding a half or whole squeezed lemon into your morning breakfast smoothie. You can also slice up lemons and put them in your water throughout the day. Or squeeze lemon juice onto your salads and veggies for added zest and health. Visit Healthy, Holistic Living for more information.

3. Boost Your Mood with Wild Caught Salmon

Beyond Diet

Salmon is not only delicious, but it's also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which make us happier. The nutrient fights inflammation caused by higher cortisol levels, making us less stressed! Our favorite fish is now our favorite antidepressant, too. We'll take it! Note: We encourage wild caught salmon over farm-fished salmon for the fullest health benefits. Check out this wild caught salmon recipe from Beyond Diet: Healthy & Happiness Through Delicious Eating.

Start reducing stress at dinner tonight by making one of our healthy salmon recipes!

4. Dark Chocolate to Fight Dark Moods

Dark Chocolate

You heard us right: Eat all the chocolate you want! Well, maybe not ALL of it, but a little bit of dark chocolate a day has a positive effect on our well-being. Researchers have found that eating a couple ounces of dark chocolate each day can reduce the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Plus, dark chocolate contains serotonin, which acts as a natural antidepressant. Never feel guilty about your chocolate consumption again! Learn more about some of the health benefits of dark chocolate at WebMD, and check out more info on the health pros and cons of eating chocolate.

If you're already craving a piece of dark chocolate, try one of our dark chocolate desserts!

5. Instead of Going Bananas... Eat a Banana

caring.com

Sometimes, when we're feeling down, it's so easy to want to grab junk food. Instead, grab a banana packed with potassium to keep you feeling energized and to curb your sugar cravings. This easy, year-round grab-n-go fruit also contains high amounts of tryptophan, which aids in the conversion of vitamins (B6) into serotonin. Add a banana to your morning routine for a happy day, or if you need a midafternoon pick-me-up at the office, choose a banana over processed, sugary foods. For more info on this super snack, visit caring.com.

Make your most important meal of the day an exercise in reducing stress by whipping up one of our banana breakfast recipes!

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