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Stressed out? Fight it…with these top 5 anti-stress foods

Have you ever had that ball of stress in the middle of your chest that just won’t go away?

Did you know that raw food has ‘anti-stress foods’ that can help? Well, read on!

Some stress-buster foods, and why they are said to work

Bananas

BananasBananas contain neurotransmitters tryptophan, serotonin and norepinephrine. I wrote about neurotransmitters in a previous article here where I described them as our body’s own ‘drugs’ that give us feel-good sensations when we eat certain foods. But neurotransmitters also help regulate our sleep, our learning, our moods…and more. So we want to keep these guys happy. Therefore…feed them bananas!

Bananas also contain vitamin B6, which helps feed the neurotransmitters that you’ve already got. This is why bananas are said to be helpful for sleeplessness and for calming the nervous system.

Bananas can also help stabilize blood sugar, hence they can be great for mood swings. So if you’re feeling like everything is getting to be a bit too much, grab a banana…or two!

Barley grass (powder!)

Barley_Grass_PowderYou don’t have to munch on grass. Get yourself some barley grass powder, and you’ll be giving your body all the B complex vitamins (making those neurotransmitters super happy), plus vitamin C.

Did you know that barley grass has 7 times as much vitamin C as an orange? Do you care? Perhaps not, but hey, who would have thought that a grass could have more than a fruit?

Barley grass also has a host of other minerals, including oleic acid, pantothenic acid, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and beta carotene!

It’s also high in chlorophyll, so let’s face it, with all that good stuff there’s really no reason not to put a teaspoonful in your smoothie. Just start gradually though, as it’s good for detox too!

Cacao

Cacao copyAhhh, cacao – the great de-stresser. No discussion of anti-stress foods would be complete without cacao…otherwise known as chocolate!

Cacao’s chromium content is said to help the body to regulate blood sugar levels, and the magnesium content helps nourish and relax muscles. Cacao is also beneficial to assisting the body with healthy hormone and…dare I say it again…neurotransmitter levels. I’ve written about cacao here too.

Maca

Maca copy

Said to be a more powerful tonic than ginseng, maca is known as a cold weather adaptogen (so it helps us deal with cold weather, basically).

It is also said to be good for the eyes, the libido (sex drive to the uninitiated), and depression (both chemical and non chemical). As a bonus, it’s also a great source of protein, as it has 17 of the 18 essential amino acids. Plus it has a delicious malty taste!

A teaspoon in a smoothie, raw soup or pudding gives you a great nutrient-dense boost.

Note: Although perfectly suitable for everyone, I don’t recommend maca if your thyroid is working overtime, as maca can be a powerful boost which you wouldn’t need. You can read more about maca’s benefits, how it works and any counterindications here.

If you are just after the flavor of maca (along with other health benefits), you can use mesquite instead, which I’ve written about here.

I’ve written about maca here too.

Spirulina (or other source of blue-green algae)

SpirulinaNot only is spirulina good for stress, but it is also an excellent source of protein and vitamin B12 – an important vitamin for vegans and vegetarians as it is usually associated with meat products (though not everyone agrees on that one!)

Spirulina is said to have youthening properties and can give you a great energy boost too! I’ve written more about spirulina here.

You could also get similar benefits from chlorella, which I’ve written about here.

So how do you get these beauties into you all in one go? Well, I’ve thought of that!

An anti-stress recipe

30_Second_Chocolate_Shake copyMake yourself a chocolate smoothie! Here’s how I make mine: a handful of soaked almonds or brazil nuts (nuts are another good anti-stress food), in a blender, along with 2 cups of water, some ice, 2-3 pitted dates, 1 tablespoon of cacao, 1 ripe banana, 1/4 teaspoon of spirulina, 1/4 teaspoon of barley grass powder, 1 teaspoon of maca and blend well. You’ll have a delicious de-stressing recipe!

My son has a chocolate smoothie like this almost every morning…not for the de-stressing properties, nor for the energy, as he’s a happy and energetic boy…but for the taste!

I hope you enjoy your delicious anti-stress recipe!

Have you got any favorite recipes that use these foods? Let me know in the comments below!

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