Did you know that tension and a hectic lifestyle are not the only things which make you stressed? Even the foods that you eat determines how your nervous system works and how relaxed and stressed you are through the day.

While a diet high in sugar and refined grain foods have negative effects on your blood sugar levels, natural foods like fruits, nuts, vegetables and healthy protein sources provide calm and stable energy.

There are also some anti-anxiety foods you need to consider including in your diet to reduce your body stress levels and relax your body and mind. Here are ten of these foods and why they are so good for stress relief:
1. Raw and unsalted almonds are high in protein and full of E and B variety vitamins. They are nutritious and delicious food excellent at stabilizing blood sugar levels and can help improve your overall health.

2. Turkey is rich in tryptophan, an amino acid needed for promoting serotonin production. All it takes is a small turkey serving on a salad to make you feel calm and relaxed.

However too much of turkey can make you sleepy, which is why so many tend to sleep after their Thanksgiving dinner!

3. Raw and unsalted pumpkin seeds are great anti-anxiety foods which a handful can substitute your sugary and salt laden junk foods with perhaps almonds and walnuts. These pumpkin seeds are also a good source of minerals like iron, zinc and copper and contain vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B, lots of protein but minimal carbohydrates.

Pumpkin seeds contain magnesium needed for maintaining a healthy nervous system, for regulating energy production and relaxing body muscles. A magnesium deficiency can unfortunately trigger anxiety and food cravings of the wrong foods. Which is why raw pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack and anti-anxiety food.

4. The nutritional properties of avocado help in reducing stress. They contain anti-inflammatory and blood sugar stabilizing monounsaturated fatty acids which help reduce blood sugar spikes and anxiety. This benefits your cardiovascular system and heart.

Avocados are high in potassium to help control blood pressure levels and prevent hypertension. Its inflammation reducing antioxidants like vitamin C, E and B and folate are all good for the brain while its high dietary fiber levels help with digestion. All this proves avocado’s a great food for relieving stress and anxiety.

5. Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, needed for your body and brain. Omega-3 fatty acids help balance inflammatory polyunsaturated fats and reduces excessive cortisol levels, the hormone related with psychological and physical stress.

Salmon also contains vitamin D which helps with mood enhancement and stress management. Vitamin D stores in the body can reduce drastically with high levels of anxiety, and many people are thought to suffer from Vitamin D deficiency during the winters.

6. The dark, leafy greens of Swiss chard helps improve your body’s response to stress and helps in the optimal functioning of your internal systems. It contains antioxidant betalains to protect your high blood pressure and sugar levels, and is a rich source of vitamins A, C, E and K and mineral content. All this makes Swiss chard a good stress fighting food.
Dark chocolate
7. Dark chocolate contains stress reducing magnesium and l-theanine, a natural physical and mental relaxant which alerts you without drowsiness. The best dark chocolates are high in cacao and have highest levels of magnesium and l-theanine.

The health benefits of chocolates is inversely proportional to its sugar and unhealthy vegetable oil content. In other words, the sweeter and more oils the chocolate has, the fewer are its health benefits. In fact, once you get used to eating dark chocolate, you will find the regular milk chocolates tasting weak and too sweet.

8. Walnuts are also high in omega-3 fatty acid and are potentially good for optimal brain health. Its high levels of vitamin E, phenolic compounds and alpha linolenic acid prevents mental decline as you age, and can help in treating mild depression. Walnuts contain melatonin which helps regulate your natural sleep patterns. This is important as a good night’s sleep determines how stressful and anxiety you are the next day.

9. Oatmeal is a good wheat replacement for those with gluten problems. Though too much of grains does not actually help reduce anxiety, oatmeal is an exception as it promotes the production of serotonin in the body to help relax your mood. However steel cut and rolled oats is a better option than the ‘instant’ oatmeal.

10. Drinking lemon juice first thing in the morning is very beneficial for its alkalizing and detoxifying properties. Its high vitamin C levels help reduce blood pressure levels and stabilizes cortisol levels to help minimize your body’s anxiety and stress. However don’t drink commercially produced orange juice for your day’s vitamin C quota. Its high in sugar and may only increase and not reduce stress.

These 10 anti-anxiety foods to help induce natural relaxation in you. However for better effects, it’s always better to get some exercise for less stress and tension in your daily life.