It’s true that we should eliminate clutter, get organized, and create calm surroundings in our office in order to reduce stress. However, once all this is accomplished, we still have the stress of our workload. When work is stressful, many of us reach for something to calm and comfort our nerves. Too often, that something is food; yet not healthy.
The title ‘comfort food’ typically brings on visions of fast burning carbohydrate-loaded goodies. This food will calm and comfort, yes, but at what expense? The comfort is over quickly, leaving you just wanting more, while the damage to your body and brain goes on deeper. Stress makes things even worse by draining our nutrients more than usual, especially vitamin C, magnesium and group B vitamins.
What can be done? Are there better foods that comfort, calm, and relieve stress? Let’s take a look at some food items you can enjoy at work that truly comfort and calm for healthy stress relief.
This super-loaded berry is an antioxidant powerhouse and is known for improving cognition. High in vitamin C, blueberries and other berries, as well, lower blood pressure and cortisol levels, reducing the effects of stress.
2. – 3. Blackcurrants and Sea Buckthorn
Although all nuts are great for snacking because they’re rich in healthy fats, group B vitamins and protein, cashews are especially high in zinc. This is an important element for reducing anxiety and for improving overall mood. Since zinc is not stored in the body, having a cashew snack every day is definitely a good idea.
Another brain booster, the humble walnut has proven itself to be a real brain protector and memory builder. What’s more stressful than forgetting what you need to know for your work assignments? Walnuts contain essential omega-3 fatty acids which not only improve memory but helps the brain stay younger, too. Walnuts are also rich in B6 vitamin, magnesium, folate and vitamin E.
6. Chamomile Tea
Take a break and have a nice cup of tea; but not just any tea. Try chamomile to calm and soothe the nerves during a stressful workday. Chamomile tea has been proven to reduce anxiety, making it the perfect addition to your stress-reducing routine.
7. Green Tea
Stress can sometimes cause our brains to go into slow motion. If you’re feeling sluggish and can’t seem to get your mental motor running, grab a cup of high-quality green tea (hot or cold) and enjoy a boost to your brain power. The caffeine is not getting all the credit; green tea contains bioactive compounds and an amino acid called L-theanine that is linked to mental alertness and has anti-anxiety effects.
8. Dark Chocolate
No, you don’t want to go crazy with a bag of M&Ms. But a small piece of dark chocolate has been shown to lower blood pressure and calm the nerves. Stress reduction can be sweet! But, remember; dark chocolate in moderation (about 40 grammes per day).
This complex carbohydrate is a true comfort food. Snacking on a handful of rolled oats will kick your brain into over-drive producing serotonin, the feel-good antioxidant which soothes and calms the brain. Mix together a combination of rolled oats, nuts, berries and other good foods and keep a container at work for a quick snack that satisfies both body and brain.
Last but not the least – don’t forget to drink pure water during the day between meals! When you are well hydrated the change is you are also feeling less stress. Our body and brain need water to function well. Being dehydrated might even increase one of the stress hormones – cortisol!
These are just a few of the many healthy foods that have been shown to help reduce stress in many ways. Keep a supply at work for a quick snack that truly comforts and calms. If you really crave for sweets, consider first taking a healthy snack and only after considering if you still crave for sweets. I bet you don’t because your need for energy has already been satisfied.
Looking for berries to buy? You can now order my Healing Foodie’s berry powders, freeze-dried berries and herbs online!