With parties, family reunions and a slew of festivities coming up, many of us are starting to feel the stress and strain that comes with this time of year. That’s why we’ve compiled a number of foods known for their stress-relieving properties, so you can take the edge off this festive season.
Chronic stress is a known contributor to inflammation and disease, along with increasing the risk for mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. While therapy and medical treatment is recommended to treat serious issues, there are a few simple changes we can make to our diets that can have lasting effects on our ability to manage stress. Here are our top 4 stress relievers to load up on!
These veggies are rich in gut-boosting prebiotics; these are known to promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut, which in turn boosts mood and lowers stress hormones as a result of the gut brain link. One type of prebiotic known as fructooligosaccharides are particularly potent in artichokes and research shows this stuff to be significantly useful lowering stress, while another study found that just 5 grams of prebiotics a day is enough to improve the symptoms of conditions like anxiety disorder. Plus, these veggies are an overall powerhouse of nutrition, with high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium – and these are essential for managing stress hormones.
Broccoli is known for its impressive health benefits – but not many are aware of its calming properties. The compound responsible for these properties is known as sulforaphane, which has been proven to protect brain function, along with providing stress relief and antidepressant properties. Broccoli also packs an impressive dose of vitamin B6 – this nutrient has well-understood links to our mood and mental health, with research showing a lack of B6 may even contribute to the development of depression. Just a cup of broccoli meets a fifth of our daily needs for B6, helping significantly reduce the risk for anxiety and depression. On top of this, the vitamin C and magnesium content is also a win for broccoli lovers as these nutrients have been proven to lower the risk for stress, anxiety and depression.
You’ve probably seen matcha hitting it off around the globe – from matcha lattes to cakes – but this traditional Japanese powder doesn’t just bring a unique flavour to the table, it’s also loaded with gut, brain and heart-boosting properties. But one especially impressive quality is its effects on our mental health and stress levels – and it comes down to a few key nutrients. The L-theanine – an amino acid – in matcha powder has been found to have stress-lowering effects, and while green tea has some of this stuff, matcha powder exhibits a far more concentrated levels of this non-protein amino acid. This is because matcha powder stems from leaves that were grown in the shade, thereby increasing its L-theanine count. One study found that just 4.5 grams of matcha powder a day reduced a known marker for stress in the body.
If you’re looking for another reason to enjoy these tasty veggies – you’ve got it! Along with their impressive fibre and nutrient content, they’re also loaded with stress-lowering properties. Research shows they may lower our count of notorious stress hormone cortisol – too much of this stuff comes about as a result of excess, chronic stress. The result? Inflammation, poor mental health and a higher risk for disease. Nutrients like potassium and vitamin C also play an important role in stress management – and sweet potatoes happen to be loaded with them. Looking for some fun recipes to enjoy stress-busting sweet potatoes in? Try these:
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