Mood Food: 5 Foods that Reduce Stress
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The food a mother eats is seriously connected to her mood. At Talking Tree Wellness, we chat a lot about Mood Food – the foods we can choose to improve our mental wellness while reducing the effects of stress, anxiety and depression. As moms, we can all use a little mood boost because while it’s mostly amazing, motherhood can also be really freaking hard.
As a mom, you’ve got this sweet little person who relies on you A LOT and as a result your moods are pretty dependent on their moods. Of course, add the stress of working, taking care of the house, navigating kids’ calendars, trying to maintain personal relationships, feeding everyone… it can be hard to find time to take care of yourself.
So how does Mood Food support your mental wellness and help you cope with the stress of parenthood? Mood Foods are whole foods packed with nutrients that help reduce anxiety, depression, and the physical ramifications of stress. Mood Foods support the body’s natural detoxification methods, reduce inflammation, and tackle sugar cravings. Most importantly, they are delicious, easy, quick and won’t cause more stress in the kitchen.
While there are many things we can’t control when it comes to our mental wellness, we can work with food and lifestyle to give ourselves a better foundation for managing stress.
Think of it like this: It’s Friday night after dinner. The kitchen is a disaster zone from the week that just blew by, and the idea of cleaning it is daunting. You start to tally the jobs that need to be accomplished and the hours it will take to get it all done. There’s a lightbulb out and the room feels dark. There’s something sticky on the stovetop. There’s a stack of storage containers on the counter that never quite found a home. A kid’s cereal is spilled on the floor. There are lunch boxes, pots and pans to clean, garbage and recycling that need to be taken out, messes to decode, etc…
Now, imagine the kitchen is tidy, everything is in its place and just needs a quick wipe down to make it sparkle.
That feels much more manageable, doesn’t it?
Our mental wellness works the same way. We may need to do regular wipe downs to keep things shiny, but if we do some of the hardcore clean-up and organizing to support our mental wellness, we have a lot less work to do when the stress comes.
Try out these 5 Mood Foods this week to reduce stress and support your mental wellness:
1. Salmon – Fatty fish like salmon are packed with healthy fats that nourish the nervous system, including the brain. Healthy fats also help to reduce inflammation in the body, which is one of the ways stress shows up physically. Did you know that depression has been linked to inflammation in the brain?
2. Kombucha – Kombucha is a bubbly fermented tea beverage that is popping up on shelves everywhere. It is a fantastic alternative to the anxiety-causing mid-day coffee or soda, and the probiotic benefits contribute to a healthy gut. A healthy gut can absorb nutrients and extract waste much more effectively than a gut fed caffeine, sugar and processed foods.
3. Seedy Bread – High fibre breads are a simple way to increase your daily fibre intake. Better bowel movements are the result of fibre snowballing the unwanted junk in the body that slows us down mentally and physically. Look for breads with ingredients you recognize and at least 5 grams of fibre per slice. My go-to seedy bread is Silver Hills 20-Grain Train.
4. Lentils – Lentils are a beautiful, simple vegetarian protein option and are loaded with gut-happy fibre. You can toss sturdier green lentils into your salads, stews and stir-fries, or use softer red lentils in a soup, as part of a pasta sauce, or on their own with some veggies. Lentils are a good source of iron and magnesium, two nutrients often depleted in over-stressed people.
5. Raspberries – Raspberries are nature’s perfect dessert. With more fibre than sugar, these tart little berries can augment smoothies, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, and more. By choosing raspberries over a sweet processed food, you are offering your body and mind a treat packed with stress-busting and inflammation-reducing antioxidants.
Interested in learning more? I created the Mood Food for Mama group to take all the guesswork out of eating for mental wellness. Participants receive detailed weekly Mood Food-filled meal plans, recipes, and tailored grocery lists. Programs also educate mamas about topics like inflammation and gut health while weaving in simple and gentle stress-reducing lifestyle changes.
Pick up your free 5-day Mood Food for Mama meal plan here
Katie Pangborn is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Mama to one sweet baby boy, Jacob. She is sustained by dark chocolate, deep breaths and helping other Mamas recognize their own power! She is the founder of Talking Tree Wellness where she supports mothers to eat better and feel better! She created Mood Food for Mama; a holistic nutrition program that was born to support moms whose mental wellness might be slipping under the stress.
League of Moms / 04/30/2019