Health

6 Superfoods That Tame Stress and Tension

Feeling the effects of quarantine? Many of us are feeling wound up and stressed lately, but including a few superfoods into your daily diet can make a world of difference. Calm jangled nerves with these foods that help with stress.

Apples turn on happiness hormones.

Apples get their distinctive sweet-tart flavor from malic acid, a compound that stimulates your brain to release the calming, focus-enhancing hormone dopamine.

Reach for one of these crunchers when you’re feeling a bit scattered, and Spanish researchers say you’ll heighten your happiness, focus and energy by 50 percent in five minutes.

Sweet potatoes soothe muscle tension.

Add one cup of sweet potatoes to your daily diet, and you could feel as much as 33 percent calmer and happier in five days. That’s the word from Australian investigators, who say this colorful spud is brimming with nutrients (such as manganese, copper and beta-carotene) that soothe the central nervous system, keeping muscles relaxed and tension-free.

Spinach calms the anxiety center.

Spinach boasts rich stores of unique plant compounds (carotenoids) that are study-proven to calm the anxietyproducing amygdala in the brain.

Sneak one cup of this leafy green into your daily diet, and UCLA researchers say your edginess and tension could plunge by 50 percent in as little as three days!

Beef prevents mood swings.

Great news from University of Connecticut investigators: Just keeping your blood-sugar levels steady has the power to reduce your risk of irritability and tension by 60 percent by preventing anxiety-triggering blood-sugar lows.

And protein-rich beef is so effective at steadying blood sugar and warding off fluxes that enjoying four ounces daily can help banish blah moods in as little as 72 hours!

Peanuts trigger relaxation.

Hectic day? You’ll feel 55 percent calmer if you stop for a peanut snack! Canadian scientists say the healthy plant fats in peanuts heighten your brain’s production of relaxing, mood-boosting alpha waves, often within 30 minutes of the first bite. The study-proven dose: 1⁄3 cup of peanuts or 2 Tbs. of natural peanut butter daily.

Dark chocolate turns on tranquility.

This sweet indulgence contains a rare plant compound (phenylethylamine) that latches on to brain cells and prompts them to release calming, mood-steadying serotonin.

No wonder University of Arizona scientists say nibbling on 1 oz. of dark chocolate can help you de-stress in two minutes, and it can reduce even chronic tension by as much as 45 percent if you savor it daily.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.