Foods are actually capable of calming nerves in case of feeling stressed. The taste and smell of certain calming foods can help to relax nerves naturally. Since the emotional and memory center of the brain is close to the part controlling the odors, it helps in calming you down. Sniffing on foods makes you breathe deeply which in turn lowers the heart rate and blood pressure. These changes help in relaxing the body. This effect is achieved on consuming foods as well. Keeping these calming foods handy can help in de-stressing.
Top 10 Calming Foods
One of the best foods to help de-stress is fish. It has nutritional content which helps in reducing anxiety and can be easily incorporated in the diet. The nutritional content of being rich in proteins, B complex vitamins and presence of Omega-3 fatty acids help in various conditions like reducing tension, relieving cardiovascular ailments and regulating blood sugar levels. This food also fuels the neurons which help in prevention and treatment of depression. Magnesium helps in calming the nervous system and helps to relax. Fish also contains tryptophan which lowers the stress hormone levels and gives calmness.
Another calming food is Avocado, also known as butter fruit, which has plenty of B complex vitamins. These vitamins are beneficial for maintaining healthy nerves and brain cells, which relieve stress. The MUFA and potassium content of avocado is also high and thus helps in lowering blood pressure. You can make a delicious recipe using this calming food when you want to de-stress or reduce the anxiety. Combine avocado, ripe banana, almond milk and vanilla extract, freeze and have this instead of ice-cream.
Berries include fruits like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. Berries are a very good source of vitamin C and many anti-oxidants. The body produces a hormone called cortisol when stressed. It elevates when the body is in stress and increases the heart rate, blood pressure and increases anxiety. When it happens on a long-term basis, it can lead to heart ailments, depression and sleep disorders. The vitamin C from the berries helps in regulating and controlling the spikes of the cortisol level.
Greek yogurt has a lot of benefits and is a wonderful calming food. The plain and unsweetened Greek yogurt is fat-free and gives only 120 calories per serving of 6 ounce. The protein content is also good with 22 grams and loads of vitamin B6 and B12. This helps in lowering anxiety and reduces blood pressure. The other nutrients responsible for lowering anxiety are magnesium, calcium and potassium. It can be enjoyed with a dash of cinnamon, honey or sweetener.
When the folic acid level in the body falls, it leads to depression. With the presence of folic acid, asparagus is a food which helps in enhancing and uplifting the mood. Two third of the daily requirement is met by just one cup of asparagus. You can have sautéed asparagus along with omelet or have them steamed or grilled to be had as a side dish along with meat, fish or vegetables. Plain steamed asparagus can be consumed with some dipping.
The fiber content in the diet can be easily increased by incorporating whole grains. They are beneficial for the heart as well as for having a calming effect on the mind. Serotonin is a chemical released in the body which makes you feel good and reduces anxiety. The secretion of serotonin increases on the intake of whole grain and products made from it like whole wheat bread and pasta. You can also include brown rice in the diet to achieve this effect.
Chocolate is a comfort food for many people and tends to lift the mood and spirits. The best kind is the dark chocolate which is better than milk chocolate in reducing the cortisol levels in the body. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are chemicals produced in the body which also cause stress and anxiety. Chocolate also lowers level of these chemicals and helps in producing opioids which are chemicals tend to make you feel better.
Chamomile tea has shown to be beneficial in reducing anxiety and related symptoms in patients suffering from anxiety disorder. Having the warm chamomile infused tea helps in sleeping better as well. It can be had at night before bed or can be had as iced tea. It is said to calm nerves as well.
The nutrients which are essential in reducing anxiety are B complex vitamins, magnesium and fiber. All these are present in oats. Oats is also one of the best calming foods which helps in increasing production of serotonin. Having oats and products made from oats will ensure that reduced serotonin levels are elevated and thus anxiety is reduced. It is better to have whole oats instead of sweetened oatmeal. You can make oatmeal cookies or granola at home with healthier options.
Walnuts have always been known to improve the cognitive functioning of the brain. The beneficial effect of walnuts is due to the presence of nutrients like alpha-linolenic acid which is a type of omega-3 fatty acid and some types of polyphenols which improve the memory status. Research has also shown that it reduces the cortisol and adrenaline levels in check thus keeping stress levels low. Walnuts can be toasted and added to various dishes like salads.