Eating when you’re stressed can get a bad rep – there are some foods that should be positively encouraged when you’re stressed out. Sadly, Haagen Dazs and big bars of Dairy Milk haven’t made it onto the list of foods that can actually help you deal with feeling the pressure, but there are some delicious foods with stress-busting qualities that you’ll find it really easy to add to your daily diet.
Specifically almonds, walnuts or pistachios. The reason they are so helpful when you feel like you’ve had enough is that they are choc-full of vitamin E, the antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system. Almonds also contain plenty of super-helpful B vitamins. Pistachios are also fabulous for your blood pressure – a study found that scoffing a small handful of pistachios a day lowered blood pressure. Walnuts have also been found to lower blood pressure, so tuck in if you’re feeling tense.
If your normal default high-fat, creamy treat comes in a tub in the frozen section, do your body a favour and switch to homemade guacamole. It might not have chocolate chips in, but the creamy, soothing texture and richness can help calm you down, mixed with monounsaturated fat and potassium which can help lower your blood pressure.
Remember when you used to get a mug of warm milk before bedtime from your mum to make you sleepy? Science has proved it’s more than an old wives’ tale and that milk is perfect for soothing insomnia and restlessness. The calcium hit in milk helps to can alleviate muscle spasms and soothe tension. If your stress is hormonal, it’s even more helpful as a 2005 study showed that women who drank four or more servings of low-fat or skimmed milk per day had a 46 per cent lower risk of PMS than women who had no more than one serving per week.
Peel yourself a juicy orange when you’re stressing out about something; people who take 3,000mg of vitamin C say that they feel stressed. And what better way to get your vitamin C than from a real life, sweet, juicy orange?
The hormones that keep you under siege when you’re stressed go into retreat when faced with omega-3 fatty acids. These heart helpers also help to protect you against heart disease, according to a 2002 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Try eating oily fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna, at least twice a week for best results.
Magnesium, which is abundant in spinach, can help to lower your stress levels, and indeed if you don’t get enough you could be plagued with migraines and headaches. One serving of spinach gives you 40% of what you need Magnesium-wise, so why not add it to your lunchtime sandwich instead of more dull iceberg lettuce?