4 Anti-Stress Foods (+ My Overnight Oats Recipe)
Anxiety is inevitable. We all feel it from time to time and I would be surprised if there is ANY new mom that has escaped at least some level of anxiety.
While so much is out of our control, there are actually foods that might be able to help us reduce and cope with anxiety when it rears its ugly head. During these hectic holiday months, challenge yourself to incorporate a few of these foods into your routine.
These guys are selenium superstars containing the highest levels of selenium of any food. Eating 2-3 Brazil nuts provides your recommended daily intake of this important trace mineral. One study showed that individuals with the highest consumption of selenium had a reduction of ~54% in the chances of occurrence of depression. I think we can all manage to eat 2 Brazil nuts a day!
Swiss Chard is high in magnesium–an essential mineral for neurological health. The American diet can actually be deficient in magnesium because of the overconsumption of refined carbs and lack of vegetables. Low magnesium levels may be linked to anxiety, irritability, confusion, and sleepiness.
Salmon is full of the omega-3’s EPA and DHA as well as vitamin D. EPA and DHA help regulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin which help us to feel happier and more relaxed. Vitamin D (which can get low especially in the winter months) also helps control these “feel good” neurotransmitters.
There may actually be a reason we turn to chocolate when we're feeling blue. The flavanols in dark chocolate improve blood flow to the brain, allowing us to better deal with stressful situations. It's even possible that dark chocolate could increase serotonin levels to help reduce anxiety.
One study showed that people who ate 40 grams of dark chocolate every day over a two week period reported significantly lower levels of stress! Opt for fair trade dark chocolate with over 70% cacao and keep your portions mindful.
Oats are a good source of the amino acid tryptophan which is converted to serotonin in the body and can promote relaxation. Turkey is another more well known source of tryptophan due to the famous Thanksgiving “turkey coma”.
Just as important as what we put in our bodies is what we keep out. If you are suffering from anxiety, avoid excess caffeine, alcohol, and sugar as they can exacerbate those negative feelings.
I love to start my day with this rich and chocolatey overnight oats recipe because not only is it delicious and satisfying, I know the combination of healthy fats and fiber plus flavanols and serotonin boosting ingredients will help me prevent and cope with any anxiety that arises.
· 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
· ½ cup almond milk or coconut milk
· 1/4th cup plain Greek yogurt or coconut yogurt
· 1 teaspoon chia seeds
· 1 teaspoon flax seeds
· ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
· 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
· 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
· ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
· ¼ banana, sliced
· ¼ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1. Using 16 oz jar, add all the ingredients and mix together.
2. Leave in the fridge for at least 3hours or overnight. I recommend adding the banana and coconut flakes right before consumption.