Stress and anxiety are, unfortunately, a daily occurrence for a lot of people. But keeping an eye on what you're nibbling on can go a long way towards calming your anxiety.
That doesn't mean diving straight for a tub of triple choc ice-cream, though; think healthy fats, plenty of vitamins and even a spoonful of yoghurt.
Avocado: Avo-cuddle with an avocado! The world’s favourite fruit is packed with B vitamins, which can help to relieve stress by promoting healthy nerves and brain cells. And, as a bonus, the monounsaturated fats and potassium can help lower blood pressure. Poached egg and avocado bruschetta, anyone?
Beef: It’s all about the zinc, kids. Foods rich in zinc have been linked to lowered anxiety; think oysters, cashews, liver, egg yolks and beef. As if you needed an excuse to get this slow-cooker beef, mushroom and red wine stew on the go.
Blueberries:The humble blueberry is doing more for your health than you think, especially when it comes to your mood. Blueberries are packed with vitamin C, which is known to lower blood pressure and cortisol, a stress hormone. Munch on the fresh stuff, or incorporate them into your cooking; we love this easy blueberry shortcake.
Almonds: A handy source of vitamins B2 and E, almonds can help to boost your immune system when you’re under stress. Throw a handful into your next beef and ginger stir-fry for some added crunch.
Salmon: Seriously, is there anything this fatty fish can’t do? Salmon is packed with omega-3 fats which can boost your metabolism while doing great things for healthy brain, heart and joint function. And recent studies show that it helps to reduce anxiety, too; try mixed mushrooms with smoked salmon, egg and seed for a deliciously calming meal.
Spinach: Leafy greens like spinach, kale and Swiss chard are high in magnesium, which can help you feel calmer; scrambled eggs, spinach and salmon is the perfect start to the day. Other great sources of magnesium? Nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Turkey: You know how you always feel a bit sleepy after your Christmas dinner? That’s all down to tryptophan, an amino acid in your favourite festive bird. Tryptophan gets your brain to release serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical which, in turn, promotes calmness and even tiredness. Tuck in all-year round with these Cajun turkey burgers.
Author: Deirdre Fogarty