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Foods to Fight Back-to-School Stress
Foods that fight anxiety and some recipe ideas, too
School supplies are starting to show up on store shelves and back-to-school sales are making their annual debuts at clothing stores. The start of a new school year (and the end to summer fun) might make your stress level start to rise. When the pressure starts getting to you, instead of reaching for a candy bar, take a few deep breaths and try some of the foods on this list. They are proven to help fight off anxiety and stress while being super delicious!
Milk — Something you’ve probably been drinking for years, but maybe not as often as you should be without your mother there to tell you to! Milk has the protein lactium, which has calming properties in the way that it lowers blood pressure. Milk is also extraordinarily high in calcium and potassium, which can help relax muscles. Add chocolate (another anti-stress food) to this drink and you have another healthy snack, specifically good for post-workout. It replenishes your body and muscles with its high carbohydrate and protein content.
Cashews — In fact, most nuts (including almonds and walnuts) are a great snack to have when you’re feeling a bit stressed. They have huge amounts of alpha-Linolenic acid, which works to protect your heart in moments of increased stress.
Oatmeal — Oatmeal, already known to be a good heart-healthy breakfast, can also help you start your day on a happy and relaxed note. These warm oats lift serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is the chemical inside of us associated with feeling good and being happy. However, try to remain healthy with your oatmeal toppings, using dried fruit or honey. Sugar can cancel out the benefits of oatmeal by creating a spike in energy and then a crash, leaving you without the feeling of overall calmness.
Green Tea — Sit down with a cup of tea and a good book and you’re already halfway there to feeling ultimately relaxed. However, green tea contains a specific amino acid, L-theanine, that will help you to settle down fully. L-theanine helps to ward off symptoms of anxiety while also producing alpha waves in the brain. These alpha waves are seen during brain scans when a person is in a deep relaxed state.
Banana — Potassium-rich foods are a great way to fight stress. Enter the banana! Known for its high potassium levels, bananas can restore the potassium you lose in moments of anxiety and stress.
Oysters — These delicious treats from the sea, served simply on ice with cocktail sauce, are also good eats for relieving stress. Oysters have one of the highest concentrations of zinc, a mineral known for emotional stability, in a food. Doctors have recognized that people who experience frequent mood swings have zinc deficiencies!
Swiss Chard — A bit unconventional but veggies nonetheless, swiss chard and other leafy greens like kale and spinach have high levels of magnesium. This helps to balance cortisol, our body’s stress hormone. These foods might not be so pleasant on their own, so mix them up in a juicer with apples and berries, or hide them in your salad.
Want to take things a step further? Instead of eating these foods raw or straight out of the fridge, incorporate them (and other superfoods) into your meals with the help of these blogs which provide some easy recipes:
- Free People — This blog, by clothing company Free People, provides countless healthy recipes. Try the Coconut Mango Banana Ice Pop with only 5 ingredients! Three of them being the fruits!
- A Couple Cooks – The couple behind this blog tag-lines their site, “Recipes for healthy and whole living.” Their Spicy Cashew Lettuce Wraps look delectable and incorporate one of our anti-stress foods.
- Sprouted Kitchen — This blog pairs beautiful photography with equally appealing recipes. The Swiss Chard and Leek Frittata is easy, includes a stress fighter, and can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Check out more helpful resources like this one in our Dorm Room Care Package.