There are so many things in this world today that cause stress it’s like a never ending bombardment. However, I’ve discovered that not only can you fight off stress through learning how to manage it but by also what you eat. If we allow the stress in our lives to control us it is going to have nothing but a negative impact on our physical health but also our mental health. This is why I tell all the women I know that it’s important to try and combat stress with management and healthy foods.

Sometimes, I’ve discovered that exercise, different relaxation techniques and even vacations don’t seem to help alleviate the stress we are always having to face in our daily lives. That is what led me to realize that healthy foods can actually be important in helping us deal with this stress and in turn helps our physical health and our mental health.

Here are some things that I’ve found that seem to help out when it comes to lowering my stress levels and I’d like to share these things with you.

One thing I like to do, especially during the colder months of the year, is to try and start my day off stress free is fix myself a bowl of oatmeal for my breakfast. This is not only a great source of fiber that helps you feel fuller longer during the day but it contains both vitamin B and magnesium.

It’s been shown in studies that there is actually a really strong link between the nutrient magnesium and good mental health. When we have a deficiency in this particular nutrient often we can become irritable and suffer from anxiety as well as depression. Plus, the carbohydrates in the oatmeal help to make serotonin in bodies and this is something that helps to calm us and fight off anxiety.

Another healthy food that I like to include in my diet at least a couple of times a week is fish, especially salmon and tuna. These both are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins. The B vitamins are great vitamins for fighting off stress. Also, salmon is another food that can help raise the serotonin levels in your body.

Admit it, we all have cravings for snacks during the day and when I do, I like to grab a few almonds to munch on. Just having something crunchy to chew on can in itself help to de-stress you. However, when you eat something like almonds you are getting some good nutrition at the same time. They are also packed with vitamins E, B12, magnesium and zinc. Vitamin E helps to fight free radicals in our system, especially the ones that can cause heart disease, which is one of the main diseases that’s killing women today in this country.

I also like to snack on both sunflower seeds and walnuts. Walnuts are a wonderful snack and they tend to help lower your blood pressure and this can be really important during times you are feeling overly stressed about something. When it comes to the sunflower seeds, these little gems are a wonderful source of both folate and magnesium and these help to produce dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that’s in that brain which is associated with feelings of pleasure.

If you’re looking for something sweet, dark chocolate and semi-sweet are a great choice because they are very high in what’s known as flavonoids. Flavonoids help to relax us and the phenethylamine in them will will help to elevate your mood. Studies have discovered that by eating a little bit of chocolate can help you reduce cortisol levels and these are the main stress hormones that are produced in our bodies.

Another thing I love to have on hand either for a snack or topping off my oatmeal with are blueberries. Not only are these a low calorie snack but they are high in fiber, are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. All of these things help us counteract all the negative effects that stress can have on our bodies during the day.

Other healthy foods I like to try to make as part of my regular diet are listed below:

•    Oranges – Not only do oranges simply taste great, we all know they are extremely high in vitamin C content and this is what helps to boost our immune system and it’s also a good antioxidant and helps to fight those nasty free radicals. Oranges also contain a good amount of vitamins A and B and a variety of important minerals all of which help to fight stress.
•    Milk – Love it, couldn’t live without it and I make sure that I have at least one glass a day. They say that people who drink milk on a regular basis seem to fell a lot less stressed out. Just one glass of low fat or skim milk a day gives our bodies antioxidants, calcium, protein and vitamins A and D and all the nutrients we need to calm us down.
•    Spinach – This dark green leafy veggie is filled with vitamins A, B and C. Spinach also contains a variety of minerals important in combating stress such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. I usually include spinach in my salads and just one cup of it daily can have a very calming and relaxing effect on the body. If you don’t want it in a salad you can always put in in a sandwich or whip it up into an omelet.
•    Avocados – Even though a lot of people complain about the fat in avocados, what they often forget is that the fat in an avocado is a healthy fat. Avocados also have a lot of important minerals, protein and both vitamins E and C. They also are high in fiber which is good for the digestive system. All of the things contained in an avocado help to regulate our stress hormones and keeps our brain cells and nerves healthy. Another great thing I love about an avocado other that how great it tastes is that by eating just one half to a whole avocado on a daily basis it can lower your blood pressure significantly and reduces the levels of your stress hormones.

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