Stress-Reducing Foods: Nourishing Your Body and Mind as a Busy Mom
As a busy parent, you are juggling multiple responsibilities all the time which means, your self-care gets pushed to the back burner. Even worse, feeling stressed AF all the time affects your physical and mental well-being.
Fortunately, one powerful way to manage stress is through the foods you eat. Not only does prioritizing nourishing foods feel good because you're also making sure your needs matter but also incorporating stress-reducing foods into your diet can help your body handle the craziness of your life and bounce back faster.
Here are my top foods to support your body through stressful times:
Dark Leafy Greens: I'm not talking about some sad butter lettuce here, we don't have time for that, it's time to level up. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in magnesium, a mineral known for its calming effects on the nervous system. Magnesium helps regulate cortisol, the stress hormone and promotes relaxation. Add these greens to salads, smoothies, or stir-fries for a nutritious boost.
Berries: This one shouldn't take a lot of convincing because berries are delish! Take your pick- blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are all packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. These nutrients help combat the damaging effects of stress on the body. Enjoy them fresh as a snack, blend them into smoothies, add to a salad, or sprinkle them on top of yogurt or oatmeal.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel) or plant-based sources like chia seeds, flaxseeds, and walnuts, can help reduce stress and promote brain health. Omega-3s have been shown to support cognitive function and decrease inflammation, benefiting both your mind and body. If you're not eating enough of these foods, I typically recommend an Omega supplement because the benefits are just too great. This is my favorite and pretty affordable.
Complex Carbohydrates: Repeat after me. No. More. Demonizing Carbs. Complex carbohydrates like whole grains (oats, quinoa, brown rice) and legumes (beans, lentils) provide a steady release of energy and boost serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness. Incorporate these foods into your meals to stabilize blood sugar levels and support mood regulation. Also fiber = happy gut. Happy gut = happy brain.
Herbal Teas: Sipping on herbal teas can provide a soothing and calming effect. Chamomile tea, in particular, has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Other herbal teas like lavender, lemon balm, and passionflower can also help alleviate stress and improve sleep quality.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, are excellent sources of stress-fighting nutrients. They contain magnesium, vitamin E, and healthy fats that promote brain health and reduce stress levels. Be that weird lady with nuts in her purse, don't be shy.
Dark Chocolate: I can't live without it and neither should you (assuming you like chocolate that is) Eating dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher) can have mood-enhancing benefits. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, which have been associated with lower stress levels and improved mood. Enjoy a square or two mindfully, savoring the rich flavor and reaping the stress-reducing benefits.
Taking care of your nutrition and prioritizing your health means you're a better you. It means you can take care of your family and manage daily challenges. By making this decision to focus on your health, you'll also have a greater sense of calm and well-being to combat the stress you know if inevitable when raising tiny humans.