Top Foods to Reduce Stress

This week I’ve been focusing on balancing my cortisol levels and trying to do things that help ease my stress/anxiety. Some things that have worked for me are: walking casually for 10-20 minutes in the morning, being on a proper eating schedule (3 full meals a day, at the same time), and eating certain foods. Even though my background is in pharmacy, my go-to medicine is food (unless it’s something serious) since certain foods are known to help reduce inflammation, keep your cortisol levels at bay, and help eliminate anxiety, so I wanted to share a couple of the top foods to reduce stress :)        

1: Tahini: If you haven’t heard of tahini before, it’s basically a paste made from ground sesame seeds that can be used as a dipping sauce, dressing, or really whatever you want. Tahini is a stress-reducing food since it’s super rich in magnesium and calcium, which are both known as the anti-stress minerals that help reduce anxiety. I’ve been using this brand to make a dressing with apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and pepper - I just pour a little on top of my quinoa & veggies and it’s amazing/so flavorful. I also love using it in my vegetable stir fry or if I’m in the mood to actually put effort in (which, you know, is rare), I’ll make hummus from scratch by using tahini, chickpeas, garlic, lemon juice, and extra virgin olive oil and blending it all in either my nutribullet or food processor.

2: Brazil Nuts: Brazil nuts are typically known for being a really good source of healthy fats, but they’re also filled with high levels of selenium. Selenium is a mineral that is known to reduce feelings of depression and help boost your overall mood. I eat about 1-3 nuts a day (that’s literally all you need to get enough selenium), which will not only help to put you in a better mood but it will also help to prevent coronary artery disease, liver cirrhosis, and cancer. I buy this brand since the nuts are raw, whole, unsalted, and shelled, which is always my preference! If you want to get creative, you can finely chop them and use them as a salad mix-in or you can even throw them in the food processor with some banana, almond meal, almond milk, and cacao and make protein balls :)

3: Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV has basically become like a superfood in the health world, and there are definitely so many reasons to incorporate it into your daily routine but some of the main reasons I’ve been using it recently is because it helps prevent weight gain, anxiety, depression, and distress. I use this brand of raw, unfiltered ACV (which is a staple in my kitchen) and I try to use around 1-2 tablespoons before each meal. This may sound a little excessive but having ACV before each meal helps creates tryptophan, which plays a crucial role in the release of serotonin (which is a “feel-good” neurotransmitter). The more we assist in the creation of serotonin, the happier/less stressed we’ll be! I like to use apple cider vinegar in my smoothies, my dressings, and even my teas. My favorite is making my detox tea (using any of these teas) with lemon, ginger, cayenne pepper, and apple cider vinegar.

Dr. Mona Vand