While on a coaching session, a client asked if there were specific foods that helped to relax and unwind after long and stressful days. And yes, there is! The conscious foodie in me rejoice every time I learn more about the power of whole plant-based food. Nature is truly magical. We often hear about the emotional side of eating, as a poor diet can have a negative impact on your mood, health and wellbeing. Processed food and refined sugar can cause depression, lethargy, fatigue and increase anxiety. On the opposite, whole natural foods are rich in nutrients that help you thrive. When we are stressed- cortisol levels go up, we crave food and often reach for something to eat and it's actually the brain asking for some relaxing food. The problem is we usually go for comfort foods in the form of sweet & fatty foods, after the high and energy, our blood sugar levels crash and we need more to keep going and it increases our anxiety and stress. Even though food cannot transform our whole life into a bliss state, it is still definitely full of health benefits that can help reduce stress levels and boost the vibes.
Here's my top 10 best foods to surf the good vibes all day:
The food nerd that I am wait every year for spring to come so I can indulge in asparagus. They are delicious and I think the fact that they are only in season for a short period of time, makes them even more enjoyable. And I can definitely confirm the good vibes they bring when you eat them. Giggles happen for some reason! They're packed with healthy goodness - including folate which helps to de-stress and produce dopamine, the feel good hormone.
What's not to love about them? They're creamy & delicious, rich in healthy fats. They keep you full and happy. Avocados are high in vitamins and minerals like folate, potassium, vitamin K, B5 and B6 and have anti-inflammatory properties. They contain the amino acid, tryptophan which positively impact your mood.
They are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants which help to reduce stress, lowers cortisol level and blood pressure. They're packed with lots of other health benefits and are considered as superfood, blueberries specially.
The omega 3's in them keeps the cortisol and adrenaline in balance, lower blood pressure. Nuts are rich in selenium, zinc, vitamin B complex and vitamin E. Selenium and zinc deficiency are linked to stress, fatigue and anxiety, so a handful of nuts can keep you in balance and elevate your mood.
High in fibers, oatmeal is slowly digested, and balances blood sugar. It contains vitamin B6 which promotes relaxation and sleep. Great way to start your morning and stay away from stress throughout your day.
Honey is soothing for the body. The tryptophan that it contains is good to keep stress and anxiety at bay. It contains potassium, which is known to relax the nervous system and fight off the stress hormones.
They do wonders! Known for their potassium and magnesium, they have tons of health goodness. Thanks to their high level of tryptophan, they help with depression. Magnesium relaxes the nerves and muscles in the body, which promotes a calmer state of mind.
Super healthy food, dark chocolate contains lots of antioxidants and is good for the heart. It lowers cortisol level, the stress hormone. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that transforms into serotonin- the feel good hormone. It's also a good source in dopamine and endorphin which enhance the mood. Flavonoids are rich with relaxation properties. Make sure to choose at least 70% cacao.
Especially leafy greens like spinach, are rich in calcium, magnesium and have a good relaxing effect on stress levels.
It contains an amino acid called L- Theanine, that promotes relaxation and also boost your brain. Chamomille, basil and valerian tea are also known to calm and relax.
Tryptophan is one of the nine essential amino acid that the body cannot produce, that's why we need to add it to our diet. It is converted into serotonin and is mainly found in protein based food like almonds, sunflower & sesame seeds, nuts, legumes and spirulina, as well as animal proteins. Consumption of food high in tryptophan have been shown to reduce depression symptoms and enhance mood by increasing serotonin level in the brain, which contains relaxing properties.
Bringing more mindfulness to your eating and paying attention to how food makes you feel is one of the best way to connect to your body and learn how to use it to thrive. Try adding these foods to your diet as they will bring more good vibes, enhance your mood and health and see how you feel.
Have you ever noticed the relation between food and your mood? Share in the comments below.