Stress can be detrimental to your fitness goals because it increases the level of cortisol in your body. Cortisol causes food cravings and for women especially the cravings are strongest for carbs and sweets. This then triggers an enzyme in our fat cells that are primarily centered around the abdomen, which causes the accumulation of more belly fat.
So what is the solution? Well instead of reaching for your typical comfort foods, research has found certain “calming foods” that are a better and healthier option. These foods provide good nutrients and are a reliable source of energy to get you through the day. So next time you are stressed, before reaching for the chocolate bar, try these foods to get you through the day!
Here are 5 calming foods you should try
- Tryptophan rich foods – You all know that tired feeling after you eat thanksgiving turkey right? It is because turkey dinners contain a powerful source of the amino acid tryptophan which has relaxation effects. Other tryptophan rich foods include: chicken, tuna, beef, soybeans and salmon.
- Berries – have very high levels of antioxidants and have many positive health benefits. All of the berries are rich in vitamin C which is very helpful combating stress and sharpening your cognition. Substitute any of your fruits for berries some days, especially when your stress levels are high. You can also mix them in your Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
- Chamomile Tea – If you’re a coffee drinker and need that extra boost in the morning and throughout the day you can still have one. However, as your second drink option ( mid day or at night) go for chamomile tea, it is one of the best bed time soothers and known for it’s relaxation effects. I love having a cup in the evening if I had a stressful day with a little honey in it to give it a nice flavor.
- Oatmeal – One of my favorite staple foods for breakfast, and a perfect complex carb that causes your brain to produce serotonin ( a feel-good chemical). Serotonin has antioxidant properties as well as creates soothing effect to overcome stress. Oatmeal keeps you full for a long time and sharper throughout the day. If you find it too bland, add some berries and yogurt in it or cut up a banana with a little bit of almond milk.
- Cashews – most nuts are a great snack because they are filling and provide you with protein and healthy fats. They are high in calories so be careful with portion size (10-12) for women and (15-20 for men) is adequate. Cashews are your best nut option because they are a very good source of zinc, low zinc levels can cause depression and anxiety.