Would you like to reduce stress on your body? Well, I’m glad you asked! I know there are many ways to do it, either by meditation, breathwork, or other mindfulness practices. You can also exercise, go for a yoga or Pilates class, or just spend some time in nature.
But do you know that certain plant-based foods can help promote a sense of calm and well-being?
Here, I collected ten that you can add to your diet and reduce stress on your body today!
But before we start, get your copy of my e-book The Wholehearted Diet. Discover the power of plant-based eating, stress less, and have more energy.
#1 Leafy Greens:
I love leafy greens (and all green vegetables) not only because green is my favourite colour, but because of the nutritious components they offer. I guess when you think about leafy greens you think about lettuce.
Well, lettuce is almost 90% water, so in a way, you do deliver nutrients. But when I think about leafy greens, I think about spinach, Swiss chard, and above all kale. Leafy greens are rich in many vitamins and minerals, including magnesium.
Magnesium helps regulate cortisol levels and promotes relaxation. It is also vital in proper nerve and
The beauty of leafy greens is that they are super easy and quick to cook. There is no preparation other than washing them! No peeling, and on some occasions, no chopping is required! And you can eat them raw, blend them, or fry them.
Nuts are a healthy option for many reasons. They are a great source of plant-based protein and healthy fats. But they also are nutrient-dense, containing magnesium and vitamin E.
Some nuts have individual properties like Brazil nuts contain selenium, and walnuts can help with melatonin production. But no matter the nut, their nutritional benefits can help reduce stress and promote brain health.
Most nuts you can eat just as they are which makes them an excellent healthy snack. You can prepare your own mix trail as your go-to meal to avoid sugar crashes.
I like to add nuts to my smoothies, salads, or even certain veggie meals, such as salads or veggie patties. I also add them in baking to my zucchini or banana bread.
Seeds, the same as nuts, contain lots of vitamins and minerals. They are excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They are simply nutritious goodness.
Think about it, for a plant to flourish, it has to start from a seed. So seeds need to be nutrient-packed to develop a plant.
Seeds are very versatile because you can eat them on their own or add them to almost anything. I use them in smoothies, salads, and patties, and add to soups or meals.
As you embark on your plant-based journey certain seeds will become your go-to staples. I use flaxseeds not only in cooking but also in baking. I add chia seeds to smoothies or juices, as well as desserts.
Sunflower or pumpkin seeds are always in my salads or burger patties.
But the one seed that I use obsessively is sesame seeds. I use both white and black sesame seeds as they are also a great source of plant-based protein.
One of the best sources of plant-based protein is legumes. Sometimes, you may find them being called pulses. Ultimately, it is the same. Legumes are plants or a seed of that plant. When you dry that seed, you call it a pulse.
Some examples of legumes are lentils, chickpeas, black beans, kidney beans, green peas, and so forth.
Legumes are high in fiber, folate, potassium, iron, and magnesium. They are also low in fat. So, all the goodies you need to stabilize your blood sugar levels and improve your mood.
#5 Whole Grains
Whole grains are complex carbohydrates that your body needs to convert into energy. Because they are complex carbohydrates, rather than simple carbohydrates, they are slowly absorbed into your bloodstream.
It means you don’t have high blood spikes and crashes.
It is important to distinguish that not all grains are whole grains. As the name suggests, whole grain is a grain that has not been processed. That is when they hold the nutrients.
My favourite whole grains are quinoa, wild rice, buckwheat, and millet. Grains are super easy to prepare and in some instances, you don’t need to cook them for long.
Depending on the grain, you can use them in smoothies (oats), soups, stews, or on a side on their own (buckwheat, millet, or wild rice).
Some research suggests that because whole grains provide complex carbohydrates, they can boost your serotonin levels and promote a sense of calm.
Avocados have a long list of nutrients and contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. They are an excellent source of fiber and B vitamins that are essential to optimal brain health.
But above all, avocados are one of the best sources of healthy, plant-based fats.
Your body requires fats to support cell function, protect organs, and keep your body warm. But dietary fats are essential for two main reasons. First, they help absorb certain nutrients and produce important hormones.
Second, healthy fats are used by your body to produce energy. So, the healthier fats you consume, and the more your body is trained to use fat for energy consumption, the more energetic you will be.
And when you have energy, there is nothing stopping you from living your life to the fullest.
I am a big advocate for vegetables and plants, and then fruit. Fruit needs to be consumed in moderation because fruits contain high amounts of sugar. However, fruit is a great dessert option.
Berries need special attention because they are packed in antioxidants and vitamin C. Certain berries such as blueberries, boysenberries, fresh currants, gooseberries, and loganberries are low in sugar, so they deserve a place on your plate.
Eating foods high in antioxidants is extremely important because they help to fight oxidative stress and support a healthy immune system.
To get the health benefits of cocoa, it is best to consume it in its powder version. And there are ample health benefits of cocoa. Cocoa powder contains antioxidants such as polyphenols that help to regulate blood sugar levels and cholesterol.
Cocoa powder is also a great source of iron, zinc, selenium, and above all magnesium. The minerals are essential to help with your muscles and bone health, as well as boost your mood and reduce stress hormones.
I use cocoa powder not only in baking but above all, in my morning smoothies! It gives me a nice texture and a lovely chocolatey taste.
#9 Herbal Teas
I often drank teas, but since I gave up coffee, I become obsessed with herbal teas. I always start my morning with green tea which is packed with antioxidants.
But my main obsession is herbal tea, especially made with an Ayurvedic recipe. There is nothing better than drinking a cup of tea that boosts all your systems and nourishes you from the inside out.
What I love about herbal teas is that they are all packed with vital nutrients, so you can’t go wrong.
For example, herbal teas such as chamomile, lavender, and lemon balm have calming properties. They promote relaxation and better sleep.
#10 Fermented Foods
Fermented foods have become a bit of a celebrity lately and for a good reason. I grew up on sauerkraut and dill pickles, so they have always been a part of my diet. Nowadays I also added kimchi, tempeh, and kombucha to my culinary repertoire.
Fermented foods are vital to your health because they contain probiotics that support your gut health. Unfortunately, most of today’s health concerns can be linked to poor gut health. So, now it’s the best time to embrace them.
If you are a newbie to fermented foods start slow by having sauerkraut or pickles on a side. (You can find out how to prepare them in my e-book The Wholehearted Diet). And as you become more familiar with their taste you can venture out.
How to Reduce Stress with Food
There will always be stress in your life. So, having stress management techniques you can use is essential to your mental and physical health. And now you can add those ten delicious and nutrient-packed foods to reduce stress on your body.
They are easy to add to your diet without making major shifts to the way you eat. The rule is the more the merrier!
Ready to get started with a plant-based diet? Get your copy of my e-book The Wholehearted Diet. Discover the power of plant-based eating, stress less, and have more energy.