We all want to feed our bodies for optimum health, but did you know that the right foods will also give us the ultimate in relaxation? The goal in fighting stress is to help your body produce serotonin, the ultimate brain relaxation chemical that allows the rest of you to wind down.
Luckily, there are plenty of healthy foods that can help you increase the production of this important chemical. Vine Vera brings you seven different super foods that contain the fuel for serotonin and will help you unwind during stressful times:
-NUTS. The numerous vitamins and minerals in nuts, ranging from Vitamin B-complex to zinc, help relax the brain and allow the body to ease down from stress. The fatty acids in these nuts, also known as Omega-3s, can also help increase the production of serotonin. Walnuts, Brazil nuts and peanuts are all good options. Although they are delicious and important to your diet, be warned: Although they are vital to your diet, nuts are also high in calories, so monitor your intake.
-MILK. When you were little, your mom probably offered you warm milk to help you sleep. It has been a tried-and-true remedy for sleep for decades, and chemically it’s for a good reason. Milk contains tryptophan, or the chemical that relaxes your body and makes you feel tired after it converts to serotonin. It may be most commonly associated with the sleepy feeling after Thanksgiving’s turkey, but tryptophan can be found in milk products due to its large amount of proteins. If you don’t like drinking milk, don’t worry — eating cheeses higher in protein has the same effect.
-WHOLE GRAINS. Brown rice, whole wheat and whole oats offer two chemical benefits to help relax your body. One is that all these things contain selenium, which is a chemical that is known to relax the body. The other is that its complex carbohydrates let the body absorb the tryptophan from protein sources such as milk. If you choose whole grains, you’ll find that whole grains will keep the blood sugar from spiking and give you the ultimate relaxation qualities.
-CHOCOLATE. Yes, we are encouraging you to eat chocolate, but it’s not what you think. The cocoa bean’s cacao, or the common ingredient in your average chocolate bar, is high in flavanoids, which are antioxidants that help not only rid your body of free radicals but also soothe your stress. However, you can’t just grab any old candy bar and expect to receive the benefits of the cacao. You need to be indulging in dark chocolate that has a higher rate of cacao, usually above 70 percent.
-BERRIES. Berries are rich in Vitamin C, which is the essential antioxidant that will not only help convert tryptophan into serotonin to absorb into your bloodstream but also lower your blood pressure and minimize the cortisol levels that come from stress. Any Vitamin C-rich fruit will help, like citrus and kiwi, but berries often pack a powerful punch of this nutrient in a smaller serving than other fruits.
-SPINACH. Dark green leafy vegetables contain magnesium, which has a relaxing effect on the body’s arteries. Although you can get it from supplements, spinach has one of the highest magnesium sources of any natural food. In addition to its other numerous nutritional benefits, from folate and calcium to protein (all of which are calming agents), it is also a good source of vitamin C, and not unlike berries it helps the body convert tryptophan.
-AVOCADO. In addition to the Omega-3s and other healthy fats that are similar to those in nuts, avocados also contain Glutathione, which is a chemical that helps fight free radicals in the digestive tract. This creamy fruit is also a good source of B-vitamins, Folate and Panothenic Acid, not to mention Vitamin C. It also helps stabilize your blood sugar, so it’s no wonder why this natural wonder is sure to soothe your troubled mind.
Whenever you are feeling stressed out reach for one of the 5 foods we listed here today. These amazing super foods not only help you relax but they are great for your body and skin. If you care for your skin and your body it’ll take care of you for many years to come!
What foods do you eat when you feel stressed? Let Vine Vera know using the comments box below.