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July 19, 2012

Get Fit: De-Stress Diet

Grains are great for stress relief.
(image via Let's Talk Magazine)

We all work too hard (and play even harder) and never take the time to truly relax and de-stress. Although a few sessions of yoga and some quality tea time may momentarily decrease our overwhelming feelings, our brains quickly turn back to feelings of stress and anxiety.

Did you ever think the root of our problem could be in our diets? It's true- what you are putting in your body could be making you feel worse, but if you incorporate some of the below foods into your diet, they will help to de-stress your body and mind (not to mention, help you eat healthier).

1. Nuts & seeds: These are all packed with magnesium, keeping your cortisol ("the stress hormone") levels low. Usually our bodies don't have enough time for our cortisol levels to return to normal, keeping our bodies constantly at a chronic stress level. 

2. Fatty Fish (Ex. Salmon, tuna or lake trout): Fatty fish are full of Omega-3 fatty acids which help the brain to function at its best, helping you to manage stress more effectively. Don't let the "fatty" part scare you. These are essential fatty acids that your body cannot make on its own.

3. Oats & whole grains: For a healthy snack, try a piece of whole wheat toast with some low-fat jam or honey. Complex-carbs raise serotonin levels, boosting your mood and helping you to relax.

4. Bananas: These jungle fruits are high in potassium, which helps to regulate your blood pressure and keeps your blood sugar levels up, keeping your mood positive. 

5. Chicken & turkey: Unless you're a vegetarian or vegan, most of us already eat a lot of chicken in our diets, but you may not know that chicken and turkey both contain tryptophan, an essential amino acid (chicken has a higher level).  Tryptophan helps you sleep better and regulates your mood.

6. Leafy green veggies, the darker the better (Spinach, kale): These have tons of B-Complex vitamins that actually avert stress and can lift an already stress-filled mood.

Lesley Anders is a Health blogger for Ruffled Feathers. You can read her personal blog or follow her on Twitter.

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