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10 Healthy Foods That Calm & De-Stress

When you are feeling stressed rather than grabbing another coffee, pouring that glass of wine or biting someone's head off, what can you eat or drink to help calm you without the negative after effect? Do you know what calms you? Keep a mental list of what works and if you don't know where to start, here are my top 10 ten.

1/ Herbal tea's - chamomile, lemon balm and passionflower, long have the benefits of herbs like chamomile been known. Just the act itself of stopping to make tea and enjoying the experience is calming in itself, then you have the power of herbs. If you have never benefited, try using it loose and brewing for a longer period to feel the effects.

2/ Linseeds - one of my favourite health foods. They are SO hydrating, which reduces stress on the body. They are rich in Omega 3's which reduces inflammation and they are high in fibre to keep you regular. Soak them in water and drink or grind them and add them to breakfasts, smoothies or stews just before serving. I feel calm all day when I include them in my diet.

3/ Brown rice - is such a plain food it's very calming to the digestive system, perfect after sickness too rather than the 'old school' advice of dry toast. Brown rice will keep your blood sugar levels stable, helping you feel less stressed. Also rich in fibre that keeps your toxicity levels down because of being more regular.

4/ Avocado - is rich in B vitamins and it's these vitamin's that help us feel less stressed, particularly B5, also high in good fats which your body needs and totally delicious. Add to a smoothie to make it creamy or mash into everyone's favourite....guacamole.

5/ Spinach - all green leafy vegetables are amazing and spinach is high in magnesium (a vitamin that many of us are low on) and this helps regulate cortisol which is released in response to stress. It's also full of B vitamins, which also help with stress and high in zinc, protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Phew, what a little power house. Eat raw as a side salad, add a handful to the end of a curry of stew, lovely at breakfast or hidden in a smoothie for those adverse to green foods!

6/ Maca - the beautiful superfood which comes from a Peruvian root vegetable. It's sold here as a powder that can be added to smoothies, juices, porridge, hot drinks or added to baking or homemade chocolates. Maca is an adaptogen (meaning it reacts to how your body needs to use it) and it stabilises mood and hormone levels and helps your body strengthen it’s ability to cope with stress, anxiety, and fatigue.

7/ Raw chocolate - chocolate hardly needs an explanation but standard/commercial chocolate is heated so has lost many of it's rich benefits and of course has refined sugar and dairy added. Raw chocolate isn't heated above 42 degrees so it's still full of anti-oxidants, magnesium, iron and phenylethylamine (AKA PEA) which is thought to elevate mood and support energy.

8/ Oats - are a good tonic for the nervous system and help serotonin flow, thus aiding you to sleep well and a well rested body is a less stressed body. Opt for coarser oats as they are higher in fibre and therefore a more slow releasing form of energy.

9/ Blueberries - high in antioxidants and vitamin C which repair and protect cells, blueberries are great for your mood and your brain.

10/ Fermented foods - are you on the fermented food train yet? Known for improving your gut health and digestion by increasing the balance of good bacteria in your gut. The gut is linked to the brain and therefore eating fermented food improves you mood. My favourite sources are sauerkraut which is a fermented cabbage and lovely as a side dish to lunch or dinner (buy it raw and unpasteurised) and homemade kefir or kombucha which are lovely refreshing drinks. Get on board!

Wishing you health and happiness

Hannah

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