Jump to content

Got Stress? Eat These Foods to Lower Your Stress Levels

Nurses Article   (1,173 Views 8 Comments)
26 Likes; 5 Followers; 80 Articles; 18,100 Visitors; 222 Posts
If you find this topic helpful leave a comment.

As a nurse, you understand the impact stress can have on your mental and physical health. You probably practice meditation, yoga, or other activities that can lessen your stress levels. But, have you ever tried adding in a few foods that have been proven to help? Learn how adding in blueberries, almonds, and other foods can help you feel better and reduce your stress levels.

advertisement
Got Stress? Eat These Foods to Lower Your Stress Levels

Nurses understand stress. From the time your feet leave the comfort of your home until you head back at the end of your shift, you can experience a smorgasbord of stressful situations. You might practice mindfulness, yoga, pilates, or even have an active prayer life to combat stressful feelings. And, while these are all excellent ways to deal with stress, you might be surprised to learn that adding in certain foods can help lower your stress levels too.

Before we get to the list of foods to try, let's review the basics of stress.

Stress 101

Some situations trigger a biological process when you feel threatened. This reaction causes chemicals and hormones to surge throughout your body, which is the first thing you notice during times of stress. Your body responds to stress by initiating the fight-or-flight response where you either stay to fight the fear or run away.

Not all stress is bad, but you need to recognize stressful situations and create an action plan.

Nurses and Stress

It's no secret that patients are sicker today than ever before. The demands of the bedside nurse can make you feel like your crawling down the hall of the unit with the weight of the world on your shoulders. A few factors that increase stress levels for nurses include workloads, lack of social support, exposure to workplace violence or threats, and understaffing.

So what's a nurse to do? Here are five foods you can add to your diet to help alleviate your stress at the end of a long day.

Go Green

If you're anything like me, stress causes you to crave all things bad for you! But, before you get that double-order of cheese fries, you might want to think again and choose green leafy vegetables instead. Leafy greens, like spinach, contain folate, which produces the "pleasure" chemical, dopamine. Folate, also known as folic acid has been shown to improve cognitive function and lower symptoms of depression.

Yield to the Benefits of Yogurt

Bacteria in your gut might be contributing to your stress levels and feelings of anxiety. When your stress levels are up, the brain stimulates the gut, which is why you might experience gastrointestinal symptoms during times of stress. According to Psychology Today, probiotics and foods high in these good bacteria have been shown to alleviate psychiatric symptoms.

So, instead of running through McDonald's on your way to work for a McGriddle, pack a yogurt loaded with probiotics. Some brands that contain high levels of probiotics include Fage, Dannon, and Noosa. Look for The National Yogurt Association's Live & Active Cultures seal to ensure you're getting at least 100 million active starter cultures per gram of yogurt.

Break With Some Blueberries

These tiny fruits are full of stress-fighting nutrients. Vitamin C has been shown to help people not show the mental and physical effect of stress during acute challenges. And, they might be able to bounce back quicker than those who don't consume high levels of vitamin C. Blueberries also contain phytonutrients and antioxidants which helps you to improve your responses to stress.

Try adding blueberries to yogurt, oatmeal, or cereal. You can also pack a small bag full of blueberries and eat them on-the-go. They are an excellent alternative to sugary sweet snacks.

Ask for Almonds

One ounce of almonds (about 23 whole nuts) contains around 75 mg of magnesium. This nutrient has been shown to reduce the level of serotonin in your brain, which helps to lower stress levels. They are also excellent at satisfying the need to crunch away while snacking and decreasing stress.

Take a Tea Time

Sipping a cup of warm herbal tea in the afternoon or evening is an excellent relaxation technique. You might have always thought that it was just a coincidence that you felt better after a cup of chamomile or green tea, but science has proven that these herbal teas have properties that reduce stress levels.

Chamomile can calm your nerves and help you get the rest you need during stressful situations. The amino acids that naturally occur in green tea promote relaxation and might even be able to assist in the treatment of mental health conditions.

What are your go-to stress relievers? Are there other foods you eat on a regular basis to minimize your stress levels?

advertisement

Melissa is a Quality Assurance Nurse, professor, writer, and business owner. She has been a nurse for over 20 years and enjoys combining her nursing knowledge and passion for the written word. You can see more of her work at www.melissamills.net.

26 Likes, 5 Followers, 80 Articles, 18,100 Visitors, and 222 Posts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good article Melissa...but I don't see Bud Light on your list.:whistling:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good article Melissa...but I don't see Bud Light on your list.:whistling:

Or Red wine. Thought that was good for you!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good article Melissa...but I don't see Bud Light on your list.:whistling:

Man, you beat me to it - I was going to say that crazy as it might seem, combining malted barley, hops, yeast and water, and letting it ferment a while, has been known to help. :^)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good article Melissa...but I don't see Bud Light on your list.:whistling:

Sorry to be a beer snob, but Bud Light? How about some quality microbrews? An Imperial Stout really lowers stress!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Good article Melissa...but I don't see Bud Light on your list.:whistling:

OldDude - You are sooooo right! LOL I would need a little whiskey myself! Maybe I should make another list of 10 Things You Should Drink at the End of Your Work Day That No Doctor Would Recommend! LOL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry to be a beer snob, but Bud Light? How about some quality microbrews? An Imperial Stout really lowers stress!

This.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My stress-beating foods include leafy greens, sweet potatoes, avocados, fruit, nuts, salmon, and cooking with fats like olive oil, ghee, and coconut oil. I crave the boost of caffeine but I try to drink decaf or tea so I don't crash. I avoid highly-processed foods and sugar (I do indulge in holiday treats but try not to go overboard) This seems to be working really well so far...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×