Eat Smart, Mama: How to Curb Stress & Increase Energy

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Editor’s note: Any medical advice presented here is expressly the views of the writer and Red Tricycle cannot verify any claims made. Please consult with your healthcare provider about what works best for you.

Stress and energy are intertwined, the more relaxed you are, the more energized you’ll be. The reverse also holds true as stress is the biggest energy sucker. What you eat plays a profound way in how you feel. Here are a few food tips to help you curb stress and increase energy:

1. Drink Water

The most common cause of fatigue is dehydration! If there is not enough fluid in your body, blood volume can drop. As a result, your body (and heart) must work harder in order to supply your cells with oxygen and nutrients. And if your body is working so hard on the inside, what do you think happens to physical and mental energy levels? Poor hydration results in mental fogginess, poor short-term memory, dizziness and fatigue. As a rule of thumb: drink half your body weight in ounces in a day.

2. Nosh on B Vitamin-rich Foods

B vitamins are stress-busting nutrients—especially B6, B12, folic acid and niacinare essential in the production of neurotransmitters. But while B6 is the most important for busting stress and boosting energy, it’s also the first to be depleted in the presence of stress. A lack of B6 could lead to depression due to its inability to produce the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. And because B vitamins are water-soluble, they don’t hang around in your body very long—so it’s critical to ingest them throughout the day. Turn towards foods high in B vitamins such as fatty fish, red and green peppers, hazelnuts, raw cashews, spinach, bananas, potatoes and turnip greens.

3. Eat Your Greens

One of the key benefits of eating greens include their rich chlorophyll content.  Chlorophyll increases the number of red blood cells in your body, which help deliver oxygen to your cells. The more oxygen to your cells means more nutrients will be absorbed resulting in more energy . Foods such as kale, collars, spinach, broccoli, sprouts and sea veggies are all loaded in this important nutrient. Plus, they are rich other key energy boosting nutrients, such as iron, b-vitamins and tyrosine. Amazing for boosting energy and health!

4. Add Adaptogens

Adaptogens are nutrients found in herbs that increase the body’s ability to resist and adapt to stress. They can help alleviate anxiety, stress and trauma by restoring the body’s natural balance and homeostasis. Believe it or not, the more relaxed you are the more energy you’ll have over the long haul. The inability to relax after a stressful day keeps cortisol (stress hormone) levels on overdrive. This prevents good quality sleep because it reduces REM sleep and increases fatigue.  You might sleep eight hours a night but wake up still not feeling rested. If this is the case, it’s typically linked to excess cortisol.  Supplementing with adaptogenic herbs like Maca, Relora or Ashwaghanda can help mitigate cortisol levels and boost energy.  Or try a calming adaptogenic tea, such as Tulsi (aka Holy Basil) before bed to help you chill.

5. Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but they can, in fact, help chill you out. Studies show that carbs can reduce stress levels, improve mental performance and help mitigate stress-induced depression. They increase serotonin levels in the brain, our feel-good neurotransmitter, and promote a feeling of calmness. However, the issue lies in the type of carbs consumed. Simple, refined carbs may make us feel better temporarily, but the effects are extremely short-lived. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, quinoa and oats are slow-releasing carbs that keep us more satiated and feeling less anxious for longer periods of time. Whole grains, such as quinoa and amaranth, and sweet potatoes are also rich in b-vitamins, which are essential to help convert the amino acids into neurotransmitters and help to reduce stress and supports the adrenal glands.  The key is to ensure the carbs you are eating are packed with fiber and if possible, protein. However, if you are stressed and find yourself reaching for a bag of cookies, vs bowl of quinoa, choose a better for you option, like Lenny & Larry’s the Complete Crunchy Cookies that pack in fiber and protein.

I'm the author of Kitchen Cures, a Nutritionist and Culinary Consultant focused on teaching real health through lifest‌yle and dietary choices that are easy and delicious! I'm dedicated to promoting long-term health and vitality. And I'm on a mission… to make REAL health mainstream!