There is no doubt 2020 has been a challenging year for many of us. But if you want a small way to score some big results with your stress levels, then take note for your next trip to the supermarket.
Here’s what you can add to your trolley to help ditch the stress.
1. All-mighty salmon
Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, nutrients that have been found to lower stress levels and boost mood.
A low intake of omega-3 fatty acids is linked to increased anxiety and depression, while low levels of vitamin D is associated with an increased risk of poor mental health.
For a fish-flavoured mood boost, enjoy salmon 2-3 times per week. Try these super-easy salmon fritters.
2. Blueberry power
Add blueberries to your morning muesli and start your day with a spring in your step, as they’re rich in antioxidants that help reduce stress-related inflammation in the body.
Up the feel-good factor even more by baking a delicious blueberry tart.
3. Dark chocolate for the win
There’s a reason why we reach for chocolate when we’re stressed – it reduces our stress hormones.
To reap the health benefits though, make sure your chocolate of choice contains at least 70 per cent cocoa.
According to Swiss researchers, eating one 40g dark chocolate bar daily for two weeks reduced levels of both cortisol and the “fight-or-flight” hormones in highly stressed people.
Sounds like it’s time for some dark chocolate Brazil nut brownies.
4. A cuppa (green) tea
Drinking at least five cups of green tea per day can reduce stress levels by 20 per cent.
The stress-busting effects are credited to L-theanine, which works by influencing brain chemicals to produce an alert, yet calm state.
Switch your coffee to green tea and enjoy the mood boost without the jitters. It also works in a tasty broth too.
5. Leafy green fighting machines
Green vegetable spinach, Swiss chard and kale all contain magnesium, which plays an important role in regulating your stress response.
They’re also rich in folate, which produces the pleasure-inducing brain chemical dopamine. This easy spinach pie recipe should do the trick.
6. A sprinkle of turmeric
This yellow spice contains curcumin, an antioxidant with strong anti-inflammatory effects, particularly in the brain. It also elevates neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, while lowering the stress hormone cortisol.
Add a pinch of turmeric to risottos, curries, stir-fries, egg dishes and soups – or whip up a turmeric and coconut poached barramundi.
7. The scoop on yoghurt
With a strong link between gut health and mental health, it makes sense for yoghurt to be a mood food.
It contains healthy bacteria which help to improve the balance in the gut, protecting the intestinal barrier and reducing inflammation – which is a huge benefit given inflammation of the gut has been linked to anxiety and depression.
Get inventive with this green curry yoghurt chicken.
8. Go nuts for pistachios
A handful of pistachios each day can reduce your body’s response to the stresses of everyday life.
Pistachios are rich in healthy fats, fibre and antioxidants which help keep the blood vessels relaxed in times of stress.
These coconut and pistachio balls make for a great, happy snack.
This citrus fruit is rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that is important for keeping your immune system firing under times of stress.
Vitamin C also helps to modulate mood and maintain energy levels, reducing the likelihood of poor mood and fatigue.
One orange a day is all you need to meet your daily requirements – and also all that’s required for this orange polenta cake.
Oats are rich in serotonin-producing carbohydrates, which have a calming effect on the body.
The carbohydrates found in oats also have a low glycaemic index, which keep blood sugar levels stable and provide sustained energy levels.
Start your day with a bowl of overnight “Snickers” oats.
Fitbit helps manage and track your stress levels to give you a better understanding of your overall well-being. Fitbit’s all-new watch, Fitbit Sense, is the smarter way to transform your health and is the world’s first smartwatch with an EDA sensor. Using the EDA Scan App, Sense uses a multi-path electrical sensor to detect tiny changes on your skin which may indicate your body’s response to stress. Find out more and shop Fitbit Sense at Fitbit.com/au/Sense.