While it was previously mentioned that sweet chocolate is one of the snacks you should avoid while stressed, dark chocolate is an alternative. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa (at least 70%), which is what gives chocolate its distinct flavor and color. Although bitter, dark chocolate is chock-full of health benefits.
What makes cocoa so healthy? It is the amount of flavonols it contains. Flavonols have positive effects on the cardiovascular system and insulin sensitivity. This means it is good for people with hypertension and diabetes. Chocolate also contains a bit of caffeine and tyramine which can wake you up and improve your mood. So, next time you crave for a chocolate bar, try taking a bite of dark chocolate instead.
When we become stressed, hormones like adrenaline and cortisol surge. These are essential for the survival response in emergencies, however, chronic stress is bad for the body. Too much stress can lead to increased abdominal fat, hypertension, and mental health issues.
Another healthy food for stress relief are nuts. Regardless of stress, nuts are a good source of non-animal protein, omega-3, and fiber. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in certain fish and nuts, offer health benefits on the heart and help regulate hormones.
Tree nuts like pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts are good options. While peanuts are technically legumes, they still include the health benefits of nuts. Stick with dry-roasted instead of fried, salted, or sugar-coated nuts to avoid making them unhealthy.
Ginseng (Panax ginseng) is a root plant that is endemic to the cooler areas of China, Korea, and parts of Russia. Ginseng is an emerging natural option for relieving stress and boosting energy. It has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for centuries and it is now common to see ginseng added to energy drinks and supplements.