There isn’t a magic pill to help rid our daily stresses, but a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise, mindfulness, sufficient sleep and a well-rounded diet can help to reduce stress.
I sat down with Heather Lillico, Registered Holistic Nutritionist at Lemon Water Wellness and graduate from Canada’s largest holistic nutrition school, Canadian School of Natural Nutrition, to chat about some of the best foods to eat to help manage stress.
Heather explained when choosing foods to help with stress, it’s important to pick foods that promote healthy digestion, are low in sugar/high in protein and are dense with mood boosting nutrients.
Digestive health plays a huge roll in stress. When you’re stressed, the stress-hormone cortisol increases, which effects digestion by reducing the number of good bacteria founds in our guts. Good bacteria (also known as microbes) are essential for mood because they help in the production of serotonin (a natural mood stabilizer), which is largely produced in our guts.
Key foods to help keep our good bacteria count high are fermented foods, including kimchi, and yogurt.
Nutrient deficiencies can also have an impact on our stress levels. A few key vitamins and minerals that are key to help regulate stress include:
- Magnesium (helps with relaxation) – found in leafy greens, nuts and seeds
- B12 – found in animal sources, eggs, nutritional yeast and tofu
- Omega 3s (mood booster) – found in fatty fish, flax and chia seeds
- Selenium – found in brazil nuts, tuna and meat
MIX ‘EM ALL UP!
A great way to incorporate all these good-for-you, mood-boosting foods is incorporating them into a big salad bowl. One of Heather’s favourite salads includes: leafy greens, low GI grains to help stabilize blood sugar- like quinoa or brown rice, high antioxidant foods like blueberries, omega 3s from walnuts and brazil nuts, pumpkin seed oil as the fat to help absorb the vitamins and a sprinkle of hemp seeds for some extra omega 3!