Try these Anti-Inflammatory Foods When You’re Stressed Out!
Can stress and anxiety cause inflammation? Absolutely.
Chronic stress can create chronic health issues. Over time, stress can break down the immune system, impact the gut and digestive systems, put extra strain on our cardiac health, and affect our mental well-being. The main culprit? Cortisol! Our adrenal glands produce cortisol as a response to stress in the body. If the body continues to release cortisol for long periods of time, it will eventually cause too much inflammation. But! If we can get a handle on stress, we can bring those cortisol levels down. Hooray!
We’ve been told to slow down, meditate, and try yoga! We know that moving the body and exercise can help with stress but how about starting from the inside? How can you reduce inflammation due to stress? Did you know that by adding anti-inflammatory foods and herbs to our diet, it can help elevate mood and feelings of well-being? Imagine being able to hit the fridge or pantry when feeling stressed to feel better? We’re here to help!
An inside job! Foods that calm inflammation.
Rule #1: This is a non-negotiable. Always choose whole foods as they are filled with pure nutrients and fiber. Eating a diet of whole fruits and vegetables will support a good and balanced mood and increased energy with its anti-inflammatory compounds. Try to avoid processed and refined foods which contain added sugars and other unnatural additives whenever possible. They give short-term pleasure but cause issues for much longer! Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sodas and energy drinks, which can spike blood sugar. Eating at a consistent time and not skipping meals will also help regulate and maintain a balanced blood sugar level, which can cause irritability, anxiety, and worry! No thanks!
Here are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods to grab when you’re feeling stressed out:
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are great for reducing inflammation. Avocados are loaded with those healthy fats and vitamins B and E which helps support mood, brain health, and well-being! They also contain the amino acid, tryptophan, which helps balance hormones. Add this overachiever to your diet ASAP!
Bananas are known to have a few superpowers. They give an extra kick of energy to athletes and can soothe those uncomfortable muscle cramps with their abundance of potassium. They are also a great source of fiber, and vitamins B6 and C, which strengthens the immune system. But did you know they can make you happy? Yep! Bananas contain 4% of our daily value (DV) of tryptophan which is like serotonin to our brain. That feeling of relaxation and chill after Thanksgiving dinner is thanks to tryptophan. But grabbing a banana is a little easier than making a turkey! Just saying!
Cruciferous/Dark Green Vegetables
Adding your favorite dark green leafy veggies to soups, salads, smoothies, and juices is a great way to lower inflammation. They are high in vitamin K and also contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fat known for lowering inflammation. They also contain B vitamins and magnesium which regulates stress and promotes relaxation. Healthy and chill? Yay!
Just letting a square of dark chocolate melt in the mouth can help relieve stress. Try at least 70% cacao for maximum benefit! Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, like epicatechin and catechin, which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants. They protect the cells and can lower blood pressure, increase blood flow, and make you feel less anxious. Chocolate lovers in the know!
Add these crunchy little powerhouses to salads and soups or just grab a handful for snacking. A little crunch and a little salt make them even more fun and flavorful! They are also an excellent addition to savory loaves or cakes, too. Pumpkin seeds are packed with antioxidants that help lessen inflammation. Hooray! They also contain high amounts of omega-3, magnesium, protein, zinc, and fiber. They are one of the top sources of magnesium, which is responsible for deeper, better sleep. Talk about less stress!
Green tea has so many anti-inflammatory benefits like lowering the stress hormone, cortisol, and it also contains theanine, an amino acid found in the leaves, that helps you feel relaxed. Researchers also say that drinking a half a cup per day lowers the risk of developing depression and dementia. What are you waiting for??
So many wonderful herbs and spices can reduce stress, too! Herbs and spices to try for stress:
If possible, choose alcohol or glycerin based tinctures over powder form capsules for greater purity and efficacy. Loose-leaf teas and herb blends are like eating whole foods – less additives and more pure, whole ingredients!
In Ayurvedic text, holy basil is called “the elixir of life.” Holy basil, or tulsi, is a gentle but effective adaptogen that can help the body respond more quickly and easily to stress. It is most notable because it induces relaxation while also stabilizing cortisol levels.
Chamomile is known as one of the most gentle herbs around the world. Heralded for its calming and healing properties, it is thought to soothe emotional tension and help with gut symptoms like irritable bowel syndrome and ulcers. It is wonderful in teas and baths.
Reishi is another adaptogen that helps support mood. It is also known to boost the immune system, fight infection, and aid in deeper sleep. Sprinkle it on popcorn, add it to tea or cocoa, or make a big mushroom veggie bowl!
Lemon balm has been used for centuries because of its calming properties. Teas, oils, and leaves are all used in various ways in cooking, drinking, topical, baths, and more. It has been revered for its relaxing effects in balancing mood, helping with insomnia, and uplifting spirits!
Ashwagandha is another adaptogen known for calming and grounding properties and for supporting overall cognitive health. It is especially nourishing for women’s well-being. Add to smoothies, hot drinks, or sweet treats!
Always consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products that may interact with medication.
Anti-inflammatory diet for stress? For life!
Adding nutritious foods and herbs to your diet is always a smart idea but reducing inflammation and reducing stress at the same time? Genius. We know that stress and anxiety cause inflammation so why not attack it from the inside!