The Connection Between Nutrition and Stress: Foods That Boost Mood and Reduce Anxiety and Health
We are all aware of the connection between physical and mental health, but many people do not recognize the important role that nutrition plays in managing stress and anxiety levels. Eating a balanced and nutritious diet can have a positive impact on regulating stress levels, boosting mood and reducing anxiety.
How Can Nutrients Help?
Eating a well-balanced diet with the right nutrients can help to improve our mental health by reducing the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Eating healthy foods helps to keep our brain functioning properly and providing our body with important vitamins and minerals can also help to nullify the effects of stress and improving overall health.
Which Foods Are Best for Stress Relief?
Foods rich in certain vitamins and minerals are suggested for aiding stress relief; some of which include:
- Vitamin B Complex: Found in meats, fish, nuts and fortified cereals, vitamin B complex is said to help with feelings of stress and can help to reduce elevated levels of cortisol, which is a hormone released during times of stress.
- Magnesium: Found in dark leafy greens, spinach, seeds and nuts, this mineral has been linked to reducing levels of anxiety and improving sleep quality.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: As well as being linked to heart health, omega-3s have also been linked to reducing anxiety levels and improving communication between brain cells.
- Amino Acids: Found in eggs, dairy products, and fish, these acids are essential for helping to regulate serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter related to mood.
Dietary Guidelines for Stress Relief
Limiting caffeine and refined sugar intake whilst increasing intake of whole grains and fresh fruit and vegetables is highly beneficial for reducing stress levels. Additionally, drinking 2-3L of water per day and including oily fish such as salmon or sardines will all help to promote a healthy diet which can aid in stress reduction.
In summary, the connection between mental health and nutrition cannot be overlooked, and eating a nutritious, balanced diet is key to reducing levels of stress and anxiety. By incorporating nutrient-rich foods and having some dietary guidelines to follow, it is possible to reduce feelings of stress and ultimately reduce overall levels of health and well-being.