Healthy foods that can help to reduce stress

Dark chocolate can actually help when it comes to fighting anxiety.

When it comes to dealing with stress, many of us find ourselves reaching for the junk food. 

A recent report by ABC News suggested that an incredible 83 per cent of overweight Australians use food as a way of dealing with their emotions.

Furthermore, they suggested that while there are plenty of campaigns that help tackle the growing obesity problem in the country, there aren’t as many that handle or deal with the mental side of the issue.

It’s always important to talk with a doctor or health professional if you are turning to food as a way of dealing with problems, however, there are some small and simple changes you can make to your diet to help you along the way.

According to Health.com, these are the foods to add to your diet if you have been feeling stressed or if you’re inclined to reach for a snack if things are getting a bit too much for you.

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Blueberries

Blueberries work with your body to fight stressful situations. They contain an array of antioxidants and phytonutrients, with other reports suggesting that they can also help boost your immune system which in turn, should lower your stress levels.

Dark chocolate

If you like snacking on chocolate, you may be surprised to see that it could help with your mental health.

Dark chocolate in particular works a treat, given that the cocoa has the potential to encourage blood vessels to relax and in turn, lower blood pressure.

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It also contains natural ingredients that can trigger similar feelings to falling in love.

If in doubt, opt for chocolates with higher levels of cocoa.

Salmon

It may be easy to reach for a bucket of deep-fried chicken or a fatty burger, but salmon and fish could be better if you’re looking to reduce stress.

These types of fish contain omega-3 and fatty acids which can fight the negative effects of stress hormones.

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Cashews

Fighting bad feelings doesn’t mean you need to give up tasty treats. In fact, just 30g of cashews contains around 11 per cent of the recommended daily intake of zinc.

While that may not sound like much, zinc is vital when it comes to reducing anxiety. Where possible, opt for the salt-free version of the snack to ensure you’re not filling your body with unhealthy elements.

Similarly, pistachios also work.

Green vegetables

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Most people have been in a situation where they feel a little anxious and want nothing more than to grab a salty bag of chips, but eating green or leafy vegetables will actually give your body relax and give you a calm feeling.

Health.com suggests that these vegetables that contain folate work with your body to produce the pleasure-inducing brain chemical dopamine. They add that a 2012 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders of middle-aged and elderly people found those who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression symptoms.

Where possible, try snaking on vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, avocado and Brussel sprouts.

Do you stress eat? What foods do you find help?