10 Stress-Relieving Superfoods that Really Work

Eat the stress away (the healthy way!)

stress-relieving superfoods

I don’t know about you, but these feel like stressful times. With everything going on in the world, I sometimes wish I could just eat my stress away! Like many of you, I tend to instinctively reach for my favorite comfort foods when I’m in a stressful situation. It seems that we’re wired for it: Low moods leave us vulnerable to cravings and binges, so we seek out sugar and fatty foods. These high-calorie treats give us a quick dopamine rush that elevates our mood. However, these quick fixes can leave us feeling even more stressed in the long term, especially if it messes up our efforts at a healthier lifestyle! Next time you’re feeling a little tense, try one of these stress-relieving superfoods to boost your mood instead of an unhealthy snack!

10 Stress-Relieving Superfoods that Really Work

1. Tofu

relieve stress with baked tofu chunks

Tofu is amazingly high in vitamin D: It will provide between 10 and 20 percent of your daily vitamin D requirements, depending on whether you choose firm or silken tofu. Plus, because tofu can be used in so many recipes, it’s easy to eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

One of the easiest ways to make it is grilled with a side of colorful veggies. This Baked Tofu Chunks with Cajun Spice Rub is great for starters.

2. Salmon

3-Ingredient Tender Broiled Salmon for reliving stress

Salmon is one of the best sources of the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, and it also happens to be one of the best tasting, easy-to-make fish! A study performed at Oregon State University declared it to be one of the best stress-relieving superfoods. The study found a 20 percent reduction in anxiety in students taking DHA and EPA supplements. These omega-3 fatty acids are believed to help you handle stress better and can help keep you in a better mood.

Learn all about the different ways to make salmon in this post with 21 Quick & Easy Salmon Dinner Recipes. You can also try adding salmon to your salads for an easy-to-make packed lunch. This recipe for broiled salmon only has three ingredients and is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.

3. Avocado

avocado brownies for stress relief

It’s not a surprise that avocados are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins C, E, K, and B6. Eating avocados can also help to keep blood sugar levels stable. This recipe for Avocado Brownies is truly a scrumptious way to relieve stress. Eat up!

4. Beans

black bean and lentil soup

A cup of beans has about 20 percent of your daily recommended intake of magnesium. They’re also packed full of fiber, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes that can mess with your mood. Try serving beans on a salad, wrapped up in a tortilla, or over some brown rice for the perfect stress-relieving meal! We also love this Protein Packed Black Bean and Lentil Soup.

5. Scallops

easy broiled scallops

Scallops are one of the world’s healthiest foods. They have an impressive nutritional profile: they contain virus-fighting zinc, are low in calories, and have zero carbs. Plus, their vitamin B content makes them one of our favorite stress-relieving superfoods. Low levels of B vitamins have been linked to depression because it’s necessary for creating certain chemicals that help regulate our moods. That helps us deal with stress.

So, eat more scallops! These Easy Broiled Scallops are a breeze to cook and the taste is incomparable.

6. Mushrooms

Easy 5-Ingredient Garlic Herb Sauteed Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a great addition to any list of stress-relieving superfoods. They’re one of the foods highest in vitamin D, along with salmon. Did you know that vitamin D acts as a happiness vitamin? When our bodies lack this vitamin, studies have shown it may create depression and a weakened immune system.

One great way to enjoy mushrooms is to stuff them with your favorite flavors. Try this cheese stuffed mushroom recipe. For a diet-friendly dish, try this Easy 5-Ingredient Garlic Sautéed Mushrooms.

7. Eggs

individual egg and spinach bowl

Eggs do double duty when it comes to coping with stress. Egg whites are a great source of tryptophan, the amino acid famously blamed for the Thanksgiving coma. Tryptophan is essential in building different kinds of protein, including serotonin and melatonin, which play important roles in good moods. Egg yolks are also high in vitamin B, which means you’re getting a healthy dose of mood-boosting chemicals.

Browse our breakfast recipes for ideas on different ways to prepare eggs. While you’re browsing, feast your eyes on this Individual Egg and Breakfast Bowl recipe.

8. Yogurt

skinny peanut butter yogurt dip

A 2013 UCLA study found a possible connection between your gut and mood. They concluded that consuming high-probiotic yogurt may reduce activity in the stress areas of the brain. Recipes such as this Skinny Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip and this Mint Strawberry Yogurt are exciting ways to incorporate probiotics in your diet.

You can read more in this article on 8 Interesting Ways to Use Yogurt.

9. Oatmeal

Why this Oatmeal & Quinoa Recipe is a Winner

Carbs are a quick source of energy, which are also believed to play an important role in the making of serotonin. This is why we often crave carbs as a comfort food. Instead of grabbing a sugary treat, opt for slow-digesting carbs with fiber to control your blood sugar.

Oatmeal is high on our list of stress-relieving superfoods. It’s also a great way to get carbs without all the added sugar. The warmth and familiarity of oatmeal helps us feel comforted during moments of high stress. Read more about the different ways you can use oats in the kitchen. We think this Oatmeal and Quinoa recipe is pretty darn amazing!

10. Bananas

coconut banana green smoothie

Bananas are famous for their potassium, which makes them high on our list of stress-relieving superfoods. During moments of high stress, your blood pressure is elevated. Potassium helps regulate your blood pressure. Getting your daily banana keeps your heart functioning at its best during stressful situations at home, work, or school.

Enjoy this drool-worthy Coconut Banana Smoothie any time of the day.

What are your favorite stress-relieving superfoods? Let us know! Leave a comment in the section below. You can also join the conversation on Facebook.

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Sofia Lopez

Sofia received her BA from Cornell University and her MFA from San Francisco State University. She creates workouts and fitness challenges. Her hobbies include running, hiking, and listening to audiobooks from the exercise bike.

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