Whether it comes from work, school, or endless to-do lists, stress can hit us like a ton of bricks. Therefore, it’s essential to find ways to decompress and let loose. But did you know that the foods you eat can elevate (and reduce!) your stress levels? It’s true! The foods we choose to consume can either make us or break us when it comes to our stress levels. The next time you reach for a snack, keep these tips in mind!
Chew on This: Spinach
Green, leafy veggies like spinach are chock-full-of nutrients such a folate. Folate produces dopamine, the chemical in our brains responsible for pleasure. This can make you feel more calm.
Stay Away From This: Caffeine
It may be temping to reach for another cup of coffee when we’re stressed and have a million things to do, but actually, your cup o’ joe can make that stress even worse. Drinking caffeine stimulates your nervous system, increases your heart rate, and elevates your blood pressure. It can also interfere with your sleep schedule. No sleep = more stress!
Munch On: Dark Chocolate
Having a small amount (just a bite!) of dark chocolate has been shown reduce cortisol – one of the biggest contributors to stress. It also contains substances that mimic the feeling of being in love! Nibble on chunks of dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa.
Say No To: Refined Sugar
Refined sugar causes fluctuations in sugar and insulin levels. This can cause irritability, mood swings, and poor concentration. If you want a sweet treat, nibble on some berries and fruit.
Snack On: Yogurt
The probiotics found in yogurt has been found to reduce brain activity in the areas that handle emotion. Yogurt also regulates your gut health. Believe it or not, the bacteria in your gut can play a role in stress levels. Who knew?
Written by GUADS staff member Angelina with contributions from Health.com and Shape.com