Get relief from stress, irritability and more with these non-medicinal remedies
Next time you’re overcome with the urge to eat away your anxiety, keep this in mind: Sweet potatoes work as a powerful stress-busting food because of their sweet flavor and high concentration of carbohydrates—two common stress-related cravings. To boot, sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which helps you digest food in a slow and steady manner, keeping you physically—and emotionally—satisfied longer.
Does your fast-paced job leave you tossing and turning at night? Try lavender aromatherapy to help your mind turn off. Recognized for aiding stress-related sleep disorders, lavender, which is native to the Mediterranean basin, has been shown to treat mild insomnia. Made from the dried flowers and essential oils of the plant, lavender products are available in many forms, including potpourri, body lotions, teas and candles.
Need a happiness boost? Try snacking on a healthy portion of complex carbohydrates, thought to trigger the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter known as the “feel-good hormone,” which can help you feel calm, relaxed and happy all at once. The ideal carbs include whole grains and cereals (oats, quinoa and brown rice) as well as legumes (peas, beans and lentils).
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Here’s yet another excuse to eat the beloved treat on a regular basis. A recent study published in the Journal of Proteome Research found that eating just 1.4 oz of dark chocolate can lower the stress hormones cortisol and catecholamines in the body, which helps reduce anxiety. Plus, the pure joy of eating your favorite treat triggers the release of endorphins in your brain, which offers an immediate happiness boost, according to Gans. That’s two hormone helpers in one sweet treat!
Some nights, it’s our minds we can’t turn off; other nights, it’s our bodies. When it’s the latter, chamomile can help. The herb, native to Europe and Asia and most commonly consumed as tea, has been shown in animal studies to suppress muscle spasms, effectively calming the body. Note: Pregnant women and those who are allergic to hay or ragweed should consult their physician before using chamomile.