Feeling stressed out? If so, you’re not alone.
According to the latest (2015) Stress in America report by the American Psychological Association, 51% of Americans list “personal health concerns” as one of the most common stressors.
Unfortunately, all that extra stress tends to lead to overeating, resulting in unwanted (and stressful) weight gain. Why? Because chronic stress leads to an overproduction cortisol, an appetite-stimulating hormone that tells your brain you need to load up on calorie-filled, high-fat “comfort” foods like French fries, chocolate bars and low-fiber carbs.
Thankfully, by simply eating more all-natural, nutrient-packed “superfoods”, you can reduce your stress levels, cut cortisol production and improve your overall health.
Here’s 5 tasty, stress-busting superfoods to help you manage your stress, and your weight:
Kale, spinach, microgreens and collards are all rich in folate, a B vitamin that helps your body make essential mood-regulating neurotransmitters valuable in your battle against chronic stress. Better yet, these veggies are very low in calories, making them the perfect “binge” health food.
You might have heard that blueberries are great for eye health, but did you know that these antioxidant-rich fruits also help boost production of dopamine, a “feel-good” hormone produced by your brain? Try topping your favorite high-fiber cereal with a handful of these flavor-packed, stress-busting berries.
Rich in Omega-3 essential fats known as DHA and EPA, these protein-rich foods have been positively linked to lower levels of depression (when compared to those who do not eat fish). Experts recommend seeking all-natural, wild sources of salmon and other fatty fish to reduce exposure to fish-borne toxins.
Foods that are fermented, such as sauerkraut, Korean kimchee and raw, unprocessed yoghurt have been positively linked to a reduction in stress-inducing anxiety and depression-related behavior. For the best results, choose low-salt, low-sugar fermented foods that have been minimally processed.
Ever wonder why you crave chocolate when you’re feeling stressed out? It could be because for some individuals, eating dark chocolate stimulates production of a chemical neurotransmitter known as anandamide — a powerful endocannabinoid that mimics the feel-good effects of THC, one of the active ingredients in marijuana.
So the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, don’t reach for a bag of high-fat, high-salt potato chips or a bucket of ice cream—load up on these healthy, stress-busting superfoods instead!