Right now, with most of society in a panic over the coronavirus (or as I've decided to call it, the Beer Flu), and almost everyone quarantined to home, our focus is on what to do with our time...and what to eat.
Too many of us are stressed out and all we can think to do is worry, get annoyed at the people who are worrying, or eat.
Let's talk about some foods that can help our bodies to release stress and maintain some peace.
Selenium has been shown to help decrease anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Nuts are known for having high levels of this mineral. You only need a handful of mixed nuts or even just two Brazil nuts to increase your selenium levels. Nuts are also high in magnesium, which helps to relax the brain in high quantities. Peanuts and pumpkin seeds are great sources, but opt for unsalted. Nuts are a great way to fight stress!
Magnesium relaxes the brain, and also helps our nerves and muscles relax. Foods high in magnesium (in addition to nuts and seeds) are spinach, basil, and believe it or not, peppermint.
3. Dark Chocolate (my personal favorite)
Most people think of turkey when they hear tryptophan, but did you know that dark chocolate is rich in tryptophan too? The body uses tryptophan to create serotonin, which relaxes the brain. Be sure to choose dark chocolate that contains 70% or higher cacao.
Milk also contains tryptophan, and having a glass of warm milk specifically can be especially soothing.
Now that we know all about tryptophan, it's good to note that complex carbs enhance the absorption of tryptophan. Oats and oatmeal are a great source, especially when you opt for oatmeal that doesn't contain a ton of sugar.
So we know about tryptophan, we know that it creates serotonin, and that it needs to be absorbed. Vitamin C helps to convert tryptophan into serotonin. Some great sources of Vitamin C are kiwi and oranges! Studies say that a diet rich in Vitamin C may help calm you and put you in a better frame of mind.
7. Shrimp and Salmon
We all know that fish is typically rich in omega-3 fatty acids, but did you know those can reduce anxiety and depression? Your best sources are shrimp and salmon.
8. Broccoli and Bananas
When you don't have enough potassium, you can feel tired, fatigued, irritable, and anxious. Both broccoli and bananas are known for their generous helpings of potassium in each serving.
9. Green Tea
L-theanine is an amino acid that has been shown to reduce stress, assist with relaxation, and enhance moods. A great way to serve up these amino acids to your body is by drinking green tea.
10. Yogurt and Kimchi
Foods with probiotics help to keep your gut healthy. A healthy gut can create a healthy environment for your mind and emotions. There is growing research that shows a connection between healthy bacteria in your gut and a healthy mental state.
Honey not only contains tryptophan, but it also contains potassium. It helps to fight off stress hormones and relaxes the nervous system.
Another vitamin that helps lower stress hormones is folate, because it helps your body produce serotonin and dopamine to assist in mood regulation. It's also been shown to help lower the risk of depression. So throw those chickpeas on your salad, make some hummus, or toast some up for a crunchy snack!
To make your life just a little bit easier, I created a shopping list of the shelf stable foods so that you can easily find those products:
Which of these are you going to snack on first?
I'm pretty sure it's obvious what mine will be...