Stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine along with elevated levels of adrenaline are necessary for our survival system at times of alarm and danger. However they don't necessarily decrease after the emergency situation dissapears. Sometimes they become chronically high to keep us from getting into a calm state and even disrupt our sleep. Most important vitamins and minerals to heal our stress are B vitamins (there are 40 of them) vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, Omega 3 and good bacteria. Here are the list of some food that are rich sources of these:
Dried Apricots: This delicious snack is rich in magnesium that goes down in our body wihen stressed. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and helps reduce heart palpitations. They’re also high in Vitamin C and fiber to keep our immune system strong.
Asparagus: Low levels of folic acid can leave us feeling anxious. A cup of asparagus contains two-thirds of our daily value of folic acid.
Avocados: In addition to providing numerous health benefits, avocados are a great source of B vitamins. We need B vitamins for healthy brain and nerve cells. They’re also a good source of potassium, a mineral that gets depleted in times of stress.
Banana: Bananas are rich in Potassium and can help reduce blood pressure. They also act as natural beta-adrenergic blockers, which is a kind of drug that is prescribed to people suffering from anxiety. These prevent your adrenaline from peaking, which happens when we’re feeling stressed out. Bress contain B vitamins and tryptophan, a special protein that converts into serotonin. Serotonin is the happiness hormone as I wrote in another blog post.
Broccoli: They are rich in vitamin C which lowers cortisol levels.
Blueberries: Blueberries are also full of Vitamin C and can help you feel calmer throughout the day. They are rich in antioxidants that help us repair and protect our cells.
Fermented foods: When we’re feeling down, the first place to start is our gut. 90% of your serotonin is produced in our gut so keeping that in balance may be the true secret to happiness. Beneficial bacteria have a direct effect on our brain chemistry and fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles, kimchee, kombucha, and yogurt can help keep your gut bacteria healthy.
Fish (especially salmon): A diet rich in Omega 3 fatty acids helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you’re feeling anxious . Eating fish a few times a week also strengthens and protects our heart which is negatively impacted during times of high stress.
Garlic: It's a restorative herb and can play a crucial role in balancing a stressful life. It protects against many ailments and diseases and acts as a powerful tonic that reduces fatigue. Our adrenal glands can work overtime during times of high stress, and garlic can help reduce the amount of stress hormones produced and increase your energy levels.
Green Leafy Vegetables: In addition to broccoli, kale and spinach are great sources of Vitamin C. Leafy greens also contain plenty of magnesium which can be depleted when we’re stressed. A magnesium deficit in your body can lead to irritability, indigestion, and fatigue so make sure you’re getting your greens in with every meal. They’re also high in folate, which helps your body produce mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
Yogurt: In addition to being a probiotic rich food that improves our digestive health, studies have recently shown that eating yogurt may relieve stress and anxiety by reducing activity in the emotional region in our brain.