The right nutrition to combat stress

Do you feel exhausted? Do you blow your top easily? Nutritionist Marianne Botta knows the right foods to combat stress in every situation.

07.04.2017

Daniela Diener

You are what you eat. A nutritious, balanced diet is not only good for the body, but also brings benefits for general wellbeing. Healthy foods that are high in vitamins are key contributors to our bodies’ ability to regenerate, which includes getting a good night’s sleep. This is especially important to remember at times of stress. After all, our bodies are virtually programmed to make poor food choices when times are tough.

These simple tips will help you achieve greater calm:

Eat a handful of nuts and drink some peppermint tea. The oil from peppermint leaves helps with nervous digestive problems and headache. Nuts also help, especially cashews, which contain the most magnesium. This trace element has a calming effect.

Watch out that you don’t eat too much when stressed. Stress can make you gain weight. Under pressure, the body produces cortisol, which causes blood sugar levels to rise. As a consequence, fat tends to get stored in the abdominal region.

Eat a spicy Asian curry. Its essential oils will promote a sense of wellbeing. The gingerol in ginger is relaxing, and the capsaicin in paprika and chilli peppers is a mood-booster. Fermented sauces such as soy sauce contain a lot of salsolinol, which also helps lift your mood.

For your lunch, choose a plate of falafel with a yoghurt-based sauce. Chickpeas contain a lot of amino acids, which are important for the brain and nervous system. The lactic acid in yoghurt will give your nerve cells energy. Tip: Avoid bread. It will just make you tired.

Chocolate helps very quickly. It raises serotonin levels and promotes positive mood. It is also an important source of theobromine, which is chemically similar to caffeine. It is a stimulant and a mood-booster.

Eat some wasabi peanuts beforehand. Crunchy foods have been shown to reduce aggression. The spicy mustard oils in wasabi will immediately lift your mood, and the burning on your tongue will cause the body to release relaxing endorphins. Peanuts contain a lot of resveratrol, which also has a calming effect.

Drink milk with honey or eat a banana. Honey promotes the release of insulin, which expands blood vessels, producing a relaxing effect. Milk supports the formation of the happiness hormone serotonin, as do bananas. They are truly “good mood” fruit.