8 Foods That Help Fight Stress

Stress

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There’s stress eating and then there’s eating to reduce stress. Here are eight healthy foods that could help fight stress. And since stress and weight gain are intertwined, these foods may also help you lose weight.

Leafy Greens

These veggies do a body good. Leafy greens contain folate, a vitamin that helps produce the feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine. When stress levels are high, you want these chemicals flowing. Try some Swiss chard sautéed with olive oil and garlic. Other foods high in folate: asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruit, Brussels sprouts, and garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas).

Turkey

You’re getting very sleepy… and relaxed, thanks to the amino acid tryptophan found in turkey. It eventually converts to serotonin. And serotonin means good feels. Pair it with some complex carbs to get the full benefit.

Blueberries

Full of antioxidants, blueberries should definitely be part of your diet. They help produce dopamine, that stress-fighting chemical. And they’re delicious. Eat them plain, on top of your yogurt, or stirred into oatmeal. And for a go-anywhere snack, try freeze-dried blueberries.

Oatmeal

Speaking of oatmeal, it's another serotonin supplier. This complex carb will soothe your mood. If you're not a fan of hot oatmeal, try overnight oats. Aside from the serotonin boost, making breakfast the night before could reduce your stress in the morning.

Avocado

To B, or not to B? That is the question. It’s also the answer to why avocados are great for stress relief. Studies have found that feelings of anxiety may be rooted in a vitamin B deficiency. Avocados contain vitamin B, so avo' it up. This tasty treat (fun fact: it's a fruit!) is a fantastic substitute for mayo on your sandwiches. And obviously, it's essential for guacamole.

Avocado is a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids, which can benefit weight loss.

Seeds

These versatile 'lil guys are helpful at busting stress. Flax and chia are seeds with the highest amount of healthy omega-3s, so stock up on them. They make great salad toppers, soup toppers, and yogurt toppers.

Tea

Just the thought of sipping a mug of hot tea sounds calming, doesn’t it? Schedule in some tea time: chamomile, green tea, and black tea all work, so pick your favorite. Studies have shown chamomile tea aids in lessening anxiety symptoms. Similarly, a Japanese study found that drinking five cups of green tea each day could reduce stress by 20 percent.

If you’re someone who gets frazzled after having caffeine, keep that in mind, and go for decaf.

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  1. National Institutes of Health. Folate: fact sheet for professionals. Updated March 11, 2020.

  2. Strasser B, Fuchs D. Diet versus exercise in weight loss and maintenance: focus on tryptophan. Int J Tryptophan Res. 2016;9:9-16. doi:10.4137/IJTR.S33385

  3. Hozawa A, Kuriyama S, Nakaya N, et al. Green tea consumption is associated with lower psychological distress in a general population: the Ohsaki Cohort 2006 StudyThe American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009;90(5):1390-1396. doi:10.3945/ajcn.2009.28214