When our body is under stress, it demands more nutrition, as it utilizes all existing nutrients in order to prepare the body for a fight or flight response. It is very important to eat the right diet which can supply us with Vitamins A, C, E and D as well as magnesium and selenium that ease stress and relax the body and mind. Many foods are known to have anti-stress properties which can safeguard us against stress, anxiety and depression. So let us consider top superfoods to fight stress:
1. Fatty fish
Salmon, herring and mackerel along with other sea food are the best superfoods to relieve anxiety and stress owing to their high Omega 3 essential fatty acid content. Eat at least one serving of fatty fish per day to calm you down.
2. Nuts and seeds
Nuts like almonds are rich in Vitamin E and proteins and can also help you fight brain fatigue. Eating a handful of almonds before exam helps calm the body and mind, reduces stress and increases the brain’s ability to recollect stuff. Nuts like walnuts are packed with Omega 3 and seeds like pumpkin seeds are full of magnesium (discussed below).
3. Foods rich in magnesium
Magnesium rich foods can be easily considered as best foods that reduce stress hormones. So eat plenty of magnesium rich foods like whole-meal breads, spinach, chard, yogurt, kefir, nuts and seeds etc.
4. Vitamin C rich foods
Vitamin C is one of the main nutrients that our body uses up when we are stressed out. So you need to take 1000 mg of vitamin C daily to combat stress. Also eat vitamin C rich foods like peppers, citrusy fruits and vegetables, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts etc.
5. Cruciferous vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables are extremely rich in bio-flavonoids that are powerful antioxidants. The body uses up these antioxidants to combat the free radicals that are byproducts of elevated cortisol hormone. So eat plenty of cruciferous vegetables to relieve anxiety and depression, including cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
Most of us turn to unhealthy snacks like chips and cookies when we are feeling low or stressed out. Instead, it is important to consume more fruits which are rich in vitamin C such as grapefruits, oranges, tangerines along with other seasonal varieties. Often, stressed out people end up gaining weight since there is a link between elevated cortisol levels and increased abdominal fat. To avoid weight gain and obesity, it is essential to snack on fruits like bananas, figs, etc which are low in calories but also rich in nutrients.
Probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, miso etc are rich in good bacteria and assist the digestive tract to indirectly relieve stress. People with anxiety disorders should consume these foods to calm nerves.
8. B complex-rich foods
People deficient in B vitamins are often irritable.B complex deficiency is also linked to anxiety and depression. Lean meat, eggs, milk and milk products like cheese are some examples of foods rich in B vitamins that can reduce stress hormones.
9. Green tea
When you are a bundle of nerves, green tea is the best food to calm you down. So drink several cups of green tea when you are anxious and stressed out.
10. Dark chocolate
There is a reason why women like to eat dark chocolate before their menstrual periods. Dark chocolate with more than 60% cocoa is very rich in antioxidants and can safeguard you against anxiety. So eat a piece of two of dark chocolate to reduce stress and cortisol levels.
11. Calming herbs to reduce stress
Some of the best foods for instant stress relief include herbs like lavender, chamomile, peppermint and holy basil. You can make a tea from these herbs and drink a cup or two daily. Chamomile tea is best before bed time as it calms frayed nerves and helps you sleep better.
Simply eating foods that calm nerves is not enough; you also need to limit intake of foods that cause stress. Many stimulating foods like caffeine and alcohol are known to produce a temporary high followed by a crash or a low. So stay away from these or at least limit their intake. Next time you are feeling stressed out or having too many thoughts, watch your diet and heal your body and mind with the aforementioned foods to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
Bonus tip – Try floatation REST or “floating”
We cannot eliminate stress from our lives, it is beyond our control to have zero stress, life isn’t linear. We go through stages and as the body and mind ages, events that did not have a stress response can now lead to stress and dis-ease in combination with lifestyle choices one makes. What we can control is how we take care of our body. Ultimately we have the choice to eat healthy, exercise and REST. Preventative Maintenance if you will.
Here are some studies on Floatation REST (Restricted Environment Stimulation Therapy):
So what is Float Therapy?
Floating is a practice where you enter into a float pod, which is a well-engineered enclosed tub filled with 10″ of water that has 800 lbs. of dissolved Medical Grade Epsom salts in it. The individual lies supine in the water and floats effortlessly. The water and the air is heated to the skin temperature so that when the water settles and you remain relaxed and still, you feel like you are floating. The tank is light-proof, sound-proof and has a neutral smell. All forces of gravity on the musculoskeletal system and nervous system are eliminated from the extreme positive buoyancy; so imagine a space where you don’t feel, see or hear anything. The tank’s extremely unique environment is designed to allow for a minimal amount of sensory input to enter into your nervous system. This environment then has a plethora of benefits and applications for health, personal development, spirituality, and well-being. Recent research indicates Float Therapy provides relief from Anxiety for PTSD suffers and enhances creative and positive affect.
Learn more about floating on jellyfishfloatspa.com.
How does floating feel?
This story is from Michael Cordova, owner of Floating Point Float Centre, who has experienced the benefits of floating on his own body:
Before I started floating, the idea of slowing down was scary, the idea of quiet time alone meant that I had nowhere to run from my own personal pain and thoughts. I felt I had no choice but to keep busy to stop myself going crazy. In fact, it was the total opposite. Being so busy had a greater negative impact than doing nothing. I was so busy with the constant distraction from friends, gadgets and unnecessary demands that I was losing my connection with my inner self. I learned over time that being busy can equate to exhaustion, breakdowns, distractions, suffering, stress and many other health problems.
The human mind was designed to take breaks and recharge so one’s body can replenish itself. Without distraction and spending “alone time” allows you to clear your mind and think more clearly. Your body also takes advantage of this time to revitalize and energize itself.
Being constantly busy, trying to juggle many tasks is also very stressful as I found out over the years. Stress builds up in our lives and it is difficult to differentiate between ourselves and what is within. Spending time alone offers us the opportunity to slow down, catch a deep breath and set our minds straight. During this process, we rid our minds of thoughts that are negative and unnecessary. Less anxiety allows for time of innovation and self-searching.
I found Floating by accident or I could say it found me. Floating in an isolation tank has helped me so much. I have been Floating for over 7 years and it has helped me physically, forcing me to stop and give my body a much-needed break. The zero-gravity environment provided me with much needed physical rest, Floating allowed me to let go physically and mentally. It did take me a few sessions to truly let go of everything, my mind was racing with different thoughts like, ‘What am I doing here?’ and ‘Stop thinking!’. After my third session, I understood that I just needed to let my thoughts happen, trying to force relaxation was not effective. Your mind and body empty and relax when they are ready.
The best thing about being in the pod once you close the lid, turn the lights off and the music stops is that time and space no longer seem to exist! You forget about everything and appreciate being in the present, thoughts seem to fade and disappear.
To wrap up, here is a quote for you to ponder from the Floatworks Team:
To understand the immeasurable, the mind must be extraordinarily quiet.