Stress and anxiety can greatly affect your quality of life and your overall health. The amazing thing about plant-based foods is they're superfoods--packed with nutrients that and can help stabilize your mood and lower stress. Here are 7 plant-based foods proven to ease anxiety, lower stress, and boost energy.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens, like spinach, chard, and kale are packed with a rich source of magnesium which helps regulate cortisol and keep blood pressure levels low. Green leafy veggies also contain folate, a B-vitamin that plays a critical role in producing dopamine, the “feel-good” hormone.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients and stress-lowering benefits. In addition to having high levels of magnesium and potassium, which help reduce blood pressure and relax muscles, sweet potatoes also contain Vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps the body produce dopamine and serotonin, neurotransmitters that regulate and stabilize our mood.
3. Black Beans
Along with having high protein and fiber content, black beans contain magnesium + omega-3 fatty acids which help relax the nervous system and balance stress hormones and fight depression.
Lentils contain high levels of antioxidants. This legume is loaded with nutrients like potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and B vitamins that boost your mood and energy. Due to their low glycemic index, lentils also help regulate blood sugar levels, which helps stabilize energy levels and enhance your mood.
5. Nuts and seeds
Almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds… the list goes on. Nuts and seeds have a rich source of Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids and B vitamins that help lower stress. Their healthy fat content makes them an optimal food for enhancing brain function, which leads to lower stress levels and reduced inflammation. B vitamins and magnesium are involved in the production of serotonin, which helps regulate mood and relieve stress.
Avocados have been named a superfood, and with good reason. Not only do avocados consist of phytochemicals, fiber, and healthy fat, avocados include B vitamins which help produce healthy nerves and brain cells. Avocados are particularly a good source of Vitamin B6 which helps produce serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates mood. Avocados also have a high source of Omega-3 fatty acids, known to reduce stress and anxiety, and regulate mood.
Oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates which has been shown to stimulate serotonin, the "feel-good" hormone. Serotonin has properties which soothe and help lower or overcome high levels of stress. Whole-grains like oats have also been proven to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
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