Yes, snacking on chocolate can actually help you relieve stress — it’s been scientifically proven.
Feeling your stress level soaring? Snacking could help. If your attention seems to be lacking, your social calendar, and you just feel like you don’t have time to even do laundry, we feel you. In today’s fast-paced life, we are all racing against time by trying to be over-productive in a limited amount of time, and between all this, we forget to pay attention to what is important — our health.
Having a well-balanced nutritious diet is essential for maintaining good mental and physical health. If you’re seeking some relief to ease off that stress building into you, then there are specific stress-busting pantry staples that could really boost your spirit and stabilise your emotional response. Here’s a list of stress-buster foods to snack on while you are on your usual hustle at work.
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1. Dark Chocolate
We had to start this list on a good note. A bite (not the whole bar) of dark chocolate has the superpower to regulate your stress levels and serve your taste buds a bittersweet treat. Yes, this is a green signal to your chocolate cravings. This antioxidant-rich treat is said to trigger the walls of your blood vessels to relax, lower the blood pressure, and improve your circulation.
Don’t go nuts, snack them instead. Nutrient-rich, charged with B vitamins, and filled with healthy fatty acids, pistachios, in particular, have a role in reducing stress levels. They contain magnesium which is linked to defeating anxiety levels. It’s a diet-friendly snack that will slow you down by cracking that shell open to chew those nuts. But, if pistachios aren’t your go-to snack, then cashew nuts are also a smart move as they’re filled with omega-3s, protein, and zinc.
Put a few slices of avocado on your toast and you’re sorted. If you’re not a toast person, then mash it into guacamole or add some slices on to your salad. This snack contains omega-3 fatty acids that will help with that stress and anxiety and can improve your concentration, and boost your mood. This superfood consists of essential nutrients and fibre that make it a great addition to your diet.
At times, it’s not the drink itself but the feeling that is attached to the beverage. There’s nothing a warm cup of tea can’t fix, right? It simply makes you feel calm. That soothing after-effect of sipping a cup of chamomile tea brings a satisfying sense of joy. If you need a slight bit of caffeine, then opt for green tea as it’s beneficial for your memory, cognitive function, and an alternative to coffee.
Salmon has surprisingly many benefits and it’s always the first one to be named when we suggest getting some omega-3 fatty acids in your belly. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, has protective antioxidants, and is an excellent source of protein. And, it tastes amazing. The anti-inflammatory properties help counteract those negative effects of stress hormones.
6. Berries and Citrus Fruits
When the war of stress begins, there is a constant battle being fought inside of you. To shield you and fight in your defense, these antioxidant-rich and citrus-filled fruits come to the rescue and boost your immune system.
Are you a berry person? If yes, strawberries and blueberries have a phytochemical that can squeeze that stress away. Not a berry person? Oranges are the best source of Vitamin C and a great place to begin your healthy snacking journey.
Are you on the edge of a major meltdown? The easiest thing to snack on could be these Japanese beans that contain amino acid tryptophan that helps to produce the mood-balancing hormone serotonin. Edamame is high in folate so it relaxes your mood and recharges your energy levels. For vegans out there, this is your go-to plant-based snack.
Getting your daily dose of probiotics, or in this case, also a fermented food can be surprisingly beneficial. There’s a high chance that the bacteria in your gut is causing that stress, so to combat that, we need the so-called good-for-you bacteria. These probiotics can easily boost your immune system, protect you against harmful bacteria, and improve digestion — which eventually improves your gut health. Yoghurt is the coolest probiotic because you can blend it well with many things — cereal, açai bowls, and smoothies, to name a few. It’s full of calcium and protein, and it leaves off that cooling effect on your tastebuds.
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok.