Five foods to eat when you’re feeling stressed

Friday, 4 September 2015


Stress and comfort food go together like popcorn and caramel. Women in particular tend to seek comfort in the sweet embrace of carbohydrate-rich foods when we’re under stress, but how comforting are your “comfort foods” really?

Have you ever found your Zen at the bottom of a box of biscuits? Not likely. Once the sweet euphoria has worn off, self-loathing is quick to take the gap, intensifying your negative frame of mind. Refined carbohydrates and rich, creamy foods also tend to cause bloating and may make you feel queasy. Fortunately there are foods that are a real lifeline when you’re strung out. They won’t provide a quick “high,” but they will nourish your body and give you strength to face the day. All hail the real comfort foods:

Rich, creamy and satisfying, this fruit is almost too good to be good for you – yet it is. Packed with stress-busting potassium, folate and B-vitamins, the humble avo is like that calm friend whose presence soothes your frayed nerves. Stick to one serving (about a quarter of an avo) at a time to keep the kilojoule count within reasonable limits. Spread it on lightly toasted, low-GI bread for a balanced, filling meal.

Cashew nuts:
Cashews are a great source of zinc, a lack of which is associated with depression and anxiety. The texture and crunch of cashews also helps relieve tension, and they’re high in fat so they’ll keep hunger and crazy cravings at bay. Keep a packet in your handbag for a calming snack when you’re on the go. Meat, seafood and dairy are also rich in zinc.

Chamomile tea:
It might not be as trendy as a latte, but chamomile has calming properties that are far more beneficial when you’re feeling anxious. Apigenin is the flavonoid responsible for chamomile’s naturally sedating effect. It helps reduce stress levels and promotes relaxation, making it a great choice when you need soothing.

Dark chocolate:
Research claiming that dark chocolate is good for us has been well publicised – and very well received. Chocolate’s creamy texture and pleasing taste makes it the ultimate feel-good food. It’s also loaded with magnesium, manganese, iron, potassium, zinc and antioxidants, which induce a sense of general wellbeing. Moderation is however key – choose quality chocolate with a cocoa content between 70 and 85 percent, and stick to a daily serving of one or two blocks.

The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin from spiking when you’re anxious. Other excellent sources of omega 3 are walnuts, flaxseeds and sardines.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Could stress be the cause of my blotchy skin?
Stress is a choice
De-stress with scents
Can you drink too much water?
The top five fad diets

Written by

Candice is a health and beauty writer who is passionate about wellness, sunshine, macadamia nut butter, good coffee and great conversation. She believes that kindness is a superpower and that the best experiences in life are found in the least likely places.

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  1. Pseudo_kate

    I could happily eat salmon daily and cut out all red meat and poultry as a result, it’s just such a pity that it’s quite expensive.

    3 years ago •


    I’m currently going through a very stressful time so will be sure to try all of these; except the avo, because I don’t like avo.

    3 years ago •

  1. Penny Lane

    Trail mixes with almonds, cashews dried cranberries and dark chocolate bits are the best when I’m feeling anxious and snacky, or when I’m PMSing!

    3 years ago •

  1. Cookie Nandlall

    Avocados and dark chocolate is a must have.

    3 years ago •

  1. Marelke

    Just been through a stressful time. Will definitely try these tips!

    3 years ago •

  1. Pannack

    Interesting article! Thanks for the tips

    3 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    Milk chocolate makes me feel so much better. Dark chocolate however, I’m really not a fan off!

    3 years ago •

  1. foreverGLAM

    I always go for milk chocolate instead of dark. I love cashews too so I will definitely be having them next time I’m having a bad day.

    3 years ago •

  1. Natasha-Lee October

    I make a point of always having nuts in my drawer at work, cashews are my favourite. Now I know what to have if I’m having a stressful day. Thank you!

    3 years ago •

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