The ‘anti-stress’ diet: Can you EAT your way to a calmer life?

WHETHER it’s due to looming deadlines, a young family or simply just never having enough time to relax, stress can be a prominent part of our daily lives.

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From physical exercises to colouring in books, there are various techniques to minimise stress

In an ever-demanding society, the expectations placed upon us in the workplace and at home can have severe impact on our health.

recent study conducted by Harvard and Stanford University found a stressful workplace could quite literally shorten your lifespan.

Foods that are rich in healthy omegas – in particular, omega 3 can also assist to improve mood and cognitive function

Rick Hay

Stress has become such a common part of our day-to-day routine that many people both expect and accept it, but this does not have to be the case.

From physical exercises to colouring in books, there are a wide variety of techniques recommended by experts to minimise the impacts of stres

But the best way to start is by looking at what you put into your body, according to Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Nutritionist of The Super Foodist, Rick Hay.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Rick said: “Getting the right nutrition and nutrient density into your diet can help to relieve the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

“In particular increasing the intake of foods that are rich in vitamin C and B group vitamins help to nourish the nervous system and may assist in decreasing stress levels.“Foods that are rich in healthy omegas – in particular, omega 3 can also assist to improve mood and cognitive function.”

Rick also advised foods that are rich in antioxidiants can assist to improve overall health and help keep the body and immune system strong during times that are stressful.

Below are the best foods to include in an anti-stress diet, according to Rick Hay.

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Oily fish like salmon or mackerel helps to increase the intake of mood-stabilising omega 3

Oily Fish

“Oily fish like salmon or mackerel helps to increase the intake of mood-stabilising omega 3.

“Research has shown that omega 3 can work particularly well to reduce the effects of minor anxiety.”

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Dark chocolate contains an array of vitamins and minerals that can reduce stress

Something bitter-sweet

“Dark chocolate can be a great stress-fighting food, as it contains an array of vitamins and minerals that can reduce stress and studies also indicate that it can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol.”

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Bananas are also very good for mood improvement and stabilisation

The right fruits

“Berries and citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, which is key to the reduction of cortisol in the system.

“The antioxidants also nourish all of the body’s systems so are great to help boost overall health, which often suffers when we are stressed out.

“Bananas are also great, as they’re rich in tryptophan and potassium. Both of which help with mood improvement and stabilisation.”

Leafy greens

“Leafy green vegetables and salad greens are high in magnesium, which helps to relax the nervous system and can reduce the muscle tightness so often associated with times of high stress.”