The New Year is a time for resolutions. After all of the holiday’s festivities, you may be feeling a little too flabby around the belly region and a little over-stressed whenever you think of that newly racked up credit card balance. How about accomplishing a two-in-one resolution in 2014? You can eat better while reducing your stress levels.
Here are 5 healthy foods that naturally combat stress and anxiety:
Yes, these green stems make your urine smell a little off, but they are also a great stress reliever. High in folic acid, asparagus helps stabilize moods. Seven spears a day can literally be your natural “chill pill”, not to mention they are low in calories.
Beef may not be as lean as chicken, but it is rich in iron, zinc and B vitamins—all of which help in the mood department. The USDA considers 3.5 ounces (100 grams) to be the best serving size. Some cuts are leaner than others; 29 different beef cuts currently meet the USDA’s standards of being either lean or extra lean. So if you are trying to maintain a good physique, consider the following cuts: sirloin tip side steak, top sirloin steak, eye of round roast or steak, or bottom round roast and steak.
No matter what you do with avocados— whether it’s a guacamole dip or part of a sandwich, these green creamy fruits improve everything they touch. Avocados are rich in nutrients like glutathione, vitamin E, B vitamins, folic acid, lutein, and beta-carotene. Since they are also high in monounsaturated fat and potassium, avocados are great at lowering blood pressure. Consider avocados as a prime food candidate when it comes to both mental and physical health. However, limit your portions to no more than half an avocado, since they are also rich in calories.
Salmon is one of those fatty fish that not only look impressive in various cuisine plates, but also taste quite savory. Salmon is filled with Omega-3 fatty acids that fight against depression, PMS and even heart disease. WebMD suggests having 3 ounces of salmon at least twice a week.
5. Dark Chocolate
Healthy living doesn’t have to mean a life without great flavor. To satisfy your sweet tooth (with a guilt-free conscious), consider dark chocolate a special treat. Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate (made 70 percent from cocoa) has lower amounts of both sugar and fat. It reduces the amount of cortisol (a stress hormone) and catecholamines (the fight or flight hormone). Dark chocolate is also filled with a number of antioxidants. Various studies not only found that chocolate is great for endorphins to help improve moods, but also reduce the likelihood of strokes and heart attacks. Just keep in mind that although dark chocolate is healthy, moderation is key. Too much of anything won’t have positive results.
As we often consider healthy living to be a lifestyle filled with bland foods and excessive dieting, it’s time to revise these perceptions. Some of our favorite foods are nature’s own recipe for fit and stress-free living. Curb your eating habits to include more of these foods and see your stress levels and overall health improve.
Andrea Fisher is an online marketer and content specialist for home alarm systems. She has been published in a variety of publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Business Insider.