It doesn’t take an expert to tell you that stress-eating Doritos at your computer probably isn’t going to help you finish your to-do list. But we’ve all been there, reaching for the quickest comfort food we can get our hands on when times get tough. Still, processed foods aren’t going to give your body the boost it needs to deal with day-to-day anxiety. Luckily, Gill Paul and Karen Sullivan, authors of Eat Yourself Calm, have some ideas for foods to nosh on when you’re experiencing agitation:
Mangoes: This delicious fruit is rich in B vitamins, which lower the levels of stress hormones.
Blueberries: The delightful berry packs massive amounts of Vitamin C, proven to reduce blood pressure and cortisol levels.
Pistachios or Dark Chocolate: Both of these yummy snacks contain compounds that can lower blood sugar, and maintaining steady blood-sugar levels goes a long way toward keeping you calm.
Beans or Greens: All legumes, and most vegetables, have a low glycemic index, meaning they give your body a slow release of energy, as opposed to high-glycemic foods like potatoes, white bread, and short grain rice, which cause blood sugar to spike and then crash. And that crash causes the body to release adrenaline and cortisol, the hormones that make you feel wound up, in an effort to raise blood-sugar levels.
While alcohol might feel like an acceptable panacea for stress, that relief won’t last. But even if you eat like a saint, you still need to address any environmental anxiety triggers, like a lack of sleep or an overabundance of stimulants such as electronics and caffeine. After all, recent studies have shown that the ritual of pausing your day-to-day activity and sitting down to drink a cup of herbal tea is just as effective as the phytochemicals in the cup.
Written by: Addie Broyles
Illustrated by: Melody Newcomb