Foods for Relaxation
The foods we eat have can have a dramatic effect on how we feel. For example, when you drink a cup of coffee you almost immediately feel the energy boost. Food that promotes relaxation works the same way, when you are feeling anxious these foods can help relax your nervous system and calm your nerves.
Almonds promote relaxation because they are high in magnesium. Magnesium helps your nerves and muscles relax which relieves stress related tension and promotes overall relaxation. It also relaxes your veins and arteries which improves blood and oxygen circulation. My homemade almond mylk is an excellent way to enjoy the calming effect of almonds before bed.
Asparagus is a relaxing food because it is high in nervous system supporting B vitamins like folate and vitamin B1. Folic acid helps your nerves function properly by synthesizing message carrying molecules called neurotransmitters. Vitamin B1 plays a key role in energy production and supports the integrity of brain cells.
Avocados are high in B vitamins including vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) and B6, both of which reduce stress by helping to maintain a healthy nervous system. Pantothenic acid also helps with energy production and fat metabolism.
Brazil nuts are one of the best sources of the mineral selenium. Selenium is an excellent mood elevator and it helps keep anxiety away. Selenium also supports the thyroid and is an antioxidant that helps combat oxidative stress.
Greek yogurt is one of the foods for relaxation because it is an excellent source of protein, specifically tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps you relax, feel happy and can also make you sleepy.
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is different from the basil you enjoy in cooking. Cortisol is a stress hormone and Holy Basil helps lower cortisol levels which results in relaxation. Holy Basil enjoyed as a tea has the added benefit of having L-theanine, an amino acid found in tea leaves that promotes relaxation.
Lavender has the ability to strengthen the nervous system and can help relieve stress headaches because it is a nervine relaxant. The calming effects of lavender also ease depression and promote sleep.
Nutritional Yeast is one of the few vegan sources of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12, along with other B vitamins, plays a key role in the production of neurotransmitters. In addition, low levels of vitamin B12 have been shown to impair serotonin production.
Oats are a complex carb that enhance the absorption of tryptophan. They are also high in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicone and potassium which all promote relaxation.
Spinach has a comforting and calming effect because it is high in magnesium. Magnesium helps regulate cortisol levels and promote feelings of well-being.
by Jesse Lane Lee, Holistic Nutritionist