We’ve all been there: it’s a stressful day, and suddenly reaching for a bag of chips or a plate of cookies becomes borderline primal. Although comfort foods might give us an instant feeling of satisfaction, nutrient-dense foods have the ability to fight stress on a much deeper level. So many of our favorite superfoods (packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients) can support the body holistically, which ease the mind and body long-term. Read on for some of the best superfoods you can eat to fight stress and get your day back on track!
Cacao | Cacao is the foundation of all chocolate products, and an exceptional source of healthy antioxidants and minerals. But it’s actually cacao’s enormous magnesium content that make it a particularly good stress fighter. Foods high in magnesium have been proven to relax the muscles, help ease tension away, and reduce aches and pain associated with stress.
There are so many ways to incorporate cacao into desserts (Raspberry-Chocolate Mousse), anyone?), but don’t forget it’s also a great ingredient to add to a morning smoothie to set the day off on the right note. Try turning a standard banana protein shake into a stress-fighting treat with cacao! Other high magnesium foods on the savory end of the food spectrum include kelp, wheat bran, almonds, cashews, buckwheat, garlic, and soy.
Wheatgrass Powder | Wheatgrass is naturally very alkaline, which relieves inflammation and promotes a calmer state of mind and body. For ease of use and versatility, I prefer using wheatgrass powder, which contains a whopping 70 minerals and vitamins, hundreds of live enzymes, amino acids, and antioxidants which help put the body into a state of a very happy balance. For a one way ticket to your “happy place,” try adding a little wheatgrass to your favorite juice to de-stress and regain focus on bad days.
Nuts & Seeds | If you’re craving a satisfying crunch without any of the guilt, try grabbing a handful of raw nuts, like almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds. Crunching away on healthy nuts and seeds relieves stress and tension in the jaw and face, and the omega-3 fatty acid content in nuts has been linked to improved mood, too. Thanks to a wide spectrum of nutrition including protein, fiber, and minerals, nuts and seeds are very satiating and can help reduce cravings for empty calorie junk foods for hours at time. Aside from a straight-up snack, nuts and seeds can be used in all kinds of applications, from adding crunch to salads and veggie burgers, to topping off a luxurious dessert.
Matcha | Matcha is a green tea powder that’s finely ground and commonly referred to as a “health elixir” to improve concentration, boost metabolism, and simultaneously ease internal stress. A traditional part of Buddhist monk ceremonies, matcha calms the body, thanks to L-theanine, an amino acid that stimulates brain waves. To achieve mental clarity and a more positive state of mind, sip matcha tea either hot or cold, or add the powder to your favorite blender drinks.
Maca | I’ve saved the most potent de-stressing superfood for last: Maca. Used as a nourishing and healing superfood in Peru for thousands of years thanks to its incredibly high content of many vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and plant sterols, Maca is undoubtedly best known for its adaptogenic, stress-busting qualities. This incredible root directly supports the adrenal glands in the body, which serve as our internal stress regulatiors. Eating maca is a powerful and quick way to gain energy (without being negatively stimulating), as well as restore balance and vitality. It’s earthy, butterscotch flavor is phenomenal in smoothies, mixed into oatmeal, or blended with hot almond milk and sweetener as a grounding warm drink.
What’s your favorite way to de-stress?