What we eat does indeed affect how we feel, and it just so happens that certain properties of foods combined with their often psychological associations of comfort and warmth can work to enhance relaxation. The fact that you can actually eat to relax and reduce anxiety is a wonder, but which foods can do this?
Foods containing the amino acid tryptophan are excellent choices as they, especially when paired with calcium or magnesium, produce melatonin and serotonin – two powerful neurotransmitters that cause the brain to relax and encourage sleep and a restful mood. Complex carbohydrates like oats and magnesium are also elements that can encourage repose.
Here are some foods that have been proven to enhance feelings of calmness. In addition, not only will these foods help you to relax, but will also ensure you’re not deficient in any of the essential and restorative nutrients they contain.
Turkey is often, at least in western contexts, associated with holidays, comfort foods and a heart fulfilling and satisfying meal. It is often the centerpiece for thanksgiving or Christmas tables or even Sunday roast dinners in England. However, it also contains good amounts of tryptophan. So that healthy turkey stir-fry or turkey soup can be an excellent comfort food that actually produces feelings of composure and comfort.
Yes, for lovers of chocolate who want to relax, opt for dark chocolate as opposed to the high sugar content of standard milk chocolate bars, which can have the opposite effect and work to excite instead of unwind. Dark chocolate also happens to contain tryptophan, and when paired with milk, (which also contains the amino acid) you’ve got yourself a double-winning combination! Especially since warm milk has long-time been a traditional source of comfort, which has been used for eons to help one relax and nod off to sleep. Why not make a dark hot chocolate? Slightly sweet, warm and comforting to help you repose from the frustrations of the day.
Soup is a suitably soothing option for many reasons. First, it has the psychological associations of warmth and comfort, something eaten to get better if sick or on a cold wintry day. Secondly, it’s fulfilling and satisfying, mainly due to the large water content. However, it can be much more than all of these benefits and be a powerhouse of nutritious nutrients that can help you unwind. Consider adding tryptophan-rich foods, such as turkey, but also consider adding magnesium-rich foods like spinach. Magnesium is excellent because it works to relax tired nerves and muscles, a deficiency of which can cause tension, cramps and just general overall feelings of fatigue. You can make a creamed spinach and turkey soup, where the cream will contain some added vitamin D and calcium as well as tryptophan – which all work in harmony to enhance feelings of restfulness.
Complex low-energy releasing carbohydrates, such as oats can, when paired with milk manufactures serotonin, which produces feelings of restfulness. Besides, the many other benefits of oats, like its lowering-cholesterol properties and suitability for people with diabetes, it has the potential to heal feelings of hunger and contribute to feelings of well-being. Why not gain maximum benefits and a pair a bowl of oats with milk and sprinklings of dark chocolate for a harmonizing relaxation-inducing meal?