Stress Busters

Is “reduce stress” on your to-do list this? Try these seven key tension tamers. 

1. Lavender Known as one of the most therapeutic botanical essences, lavender helps ease anxiety, headaches, and insomnia. Calming and exuding a wonderful fragrance, lavender is used as an essential oil for aromatherapy and as an ingredient in many bath products and body lotions. 

2. Greek Yogurt Who doesn’t want more energy? Instead of using sugary energy drinks for a pick-me-up, make a Greek yogurt sundae instead. Registered dietician Ashley Koff, RD, suggests Greek yogurt as a replacement for foods like coffee, candy, and ice cream. Layer your favorite fresh fruit with Greek yogurt and granola. Top with a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Enjoy!

3. Fish Oil Good for the heart, the brain, and the skin, this dietary supplement also reduces the stress response and the stress hormone cortisol. It’s easy to take and available in pill or liquid forms. Look for a product that contains both DHA and EPA.

4. Organic Foods Let food be your medicine against stress. Certain items are known to soothe anxiety due to their high B-vitamin content. Shop for bananas, spinach, walnuts and potatoes. Organic varieties of these items are grown without pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and other harmful chemicals.

5. Multivitamin/mineral Take a daily supplement that contains vitamins A, B, C, and E and minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc, and selenium. Magnesium, in particular, is important during stressful times as it helps calm the nervous system.

6. Tea Enjoying a steaming cup of tea can help reduce stress. Green tea is a favorite, since it also helps control blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, and reduces the risk of heart disease. 

7. Dark Chocolate Do we really need a reason to enjoy dark chocolate? Perhaps not, but it helps to know that the dark variety is rich in minerals, antioxidants, and flavonoids. Dark chocolate boosts alertness and mood by increasing the brain’s level of the feel-good chemical serotonin. Enjoy in small doses, and remember the darker, the better.