6 food exchanges for less stress

Insisting on? You’re not alone; in fact, stress affects us all. In the long run, it can increase inflammation in your body and affect your mood, sleep, eating habits, and overall well-being.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that might help. Getting outside, moving your body, taking a screen break, taking a bath, and using essential oils can help reduce stress. Certain foods can also make or relieve stress.

Here are some simple food swaps you can do that can help you feel a little calmer.

1. Food swap: white bread for oatmeal

Carbohydrates are good for your body and your brain. They help you make serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter. But not all carbohydrates are created equal. Whole grains contain fiber, and your body digests it more slowly to avoid spikes and drops in blood sugar. Plus, oatmeal makes a cozy and comforting breakfast. Try it garnished with bananas and chocolate.

2. Food swap: Sausage for salmon

It’s not a perfect swap if you’re craving a meat pizza or a sausage sandwich with peppers and onions. But the protein you choose to put on your plate is important. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which new research shows may help reduce anxiety. Processed meats have added preservatives, including sodium, which is not good for your blood pressure.

3. Food swap: granola bar for nuts

Choosing smarter snacks can help keep stress at bay. Granola bars look healthy, but many are made with a lot of added sugar. Nuts provide healthy fat, fiber, and protein, which means your snack will have stamina (read: you’re no longer hungry in an hour). Additionally, nuts contain B vitamins, which can be depleted when we are stressed.

4. Food swap: gummies for dark chocolate

Many of us eat sweets when we are stressed. Sweet candies are tasty but can backfire as an anti-stress snack due to fluctuations in blood sugar. But dark chocolate may actually be good for your stress levels, according to research.

5. Food exchange: wine for herbal tea

Although alcohol can temporarily relieve stress, it is a depressant that can increase anxiety. A more relaxing choice of drink? Herbal tea. Tea drinkers have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Herbal teas are naturally caffeine-free – and caffeine can exacerbate anxiety in some people and interfere with sleep. A cup of chamomile might not be as sexy as a tall glass of red wine, but your stress levels may decrease.

6. Food swap: cottage cheese for yogurt

Both of these high protein foods make great snack choices. But when it comes to stress, yogurt can be ahead of the game thanks to probiotics, the bacteria that are good for your gut. Your gut makes 50% of your body’s dopamine and 95% of its serotonin, two chemicals that improve mood. We’re learning even more about the impact of gut health on mood, but there is some evidence that probiotics can help you feel better. Yogurt is a natural source of probiotics, so eat it. Including other foods rich in probiotics like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha in your diet also can’t hurt.

(EatingWell is a magazine and website dedicated to healthy eating as a lifestyle. Online at www.eatingwell.com.)
(C) 2021 Meredith Corporation. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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