Foods to Help Relieve Stress
Sweet potatoes being cut on a cutting board.

Foods to Help Relieve Stress

pathmedical Nutrition

If you’re feeling stressed, it’s only natural to look for some type of relief. While occasional stress is difficult to avoid, chronic stress can take a serious toll on your physical and emotional health. In fact, it may increase your risk of conditions like heart disease and depression.

There are certain foods and beverages that may offer some measure of relief. Here are some stress-relieving foods and beverages to try adding to your diet:

Matcha – This green tea powder is popular among health enthusiasts because it’s rich in L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid with powerful stress-relieving properties. Matcha is a better source of this amino acid than other types of green tea, as it’s made from green tea leaves grown in shade. Both human and animal studies show that matcha may reduce stress if its L-theanine content is high enough and its caffeine is low. 1

Sweet Potatoes – Eating sweet potatoes may help lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. 2 Sweet potatoes are a whole food that makes an excellent carb choice. They’re packed with nutrients that are important for stress response, such as vitamin C and potassium.

Artichokes – Artichokes are a great source of fiber and especially rich in prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut. Studies indicate that prebiotics like fructooligosaccharides (FOSs), which are concentrated in artichokes, may help reduce stress levels. 3

Eggs – Eggs are often referred to as nature’s multivitamin because of their impressive nutrient profile. Whole eggs are packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants needed for a healthy stress response.

Garlic – Garlic is high in sulfur compounds that help increase levels of glutathione. This antioxidant is part of your body’s first line of defense against stress. 4

Sunflower seeds – Sunflower seeds are a rich source of vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin acts as a powerful antioxidant and is essential for mental health. Sunflower seeds are also high in other stress-reducing nutrients, including magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, B vitamins, and copper. 5

Chickpeas – Chickpeas are packed with stress-fighting vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, manganese, and copper. These delicious legumes are also rich in L-tryptophan, which your body needs to produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters. 6

Blueberries – Blueberries are associated with a number of health benefits, including improved mood. These berries are high in flavonoid antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. They may help reduce stress-related inflammation and protect against stress-related cellular damage. 7

Numerous foods contain nutrients that may help you reduce stress. Try incorporating some of these foods and beverages into your diet to naturally promote stress relief.