1. Snack on a handful of nuts. They’re packed with magnesium, which seems to help keep cortisol levels low. Nuts are high in calories, so if you’re watching your weight, make sure not to eat more than a dozen a day.
2. Eat broccoli and low-fat ranch dip. Broccoli has folic acid, which aids stress reduction.
3. Enjoy sorbet with a vanilla sugar wafer. Sugary foods decrease levels of anxiety-producing hormones, specifically through the production of glucocorticoid, a stress hormone linked to storing more fat in the belly. Just a little sugar on the tongue is enough to produce a feel-good effect, so don’t overdo it!
4. Have a whole grain English muffin with jam or honey. Complex carbohydrate-rich foods raise serotonin levels, boosting your mood and helping you relax.
5. Savor some salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids help brain cells to function more collaboratively, helping you to deal with stress more effectively.
6. Indulge in some dark chocolate. By far the most potent endorphin-producing food on earth, chocolate contains more than 300 different compounds, including anandamide, a chemical that mimics marijuana’s effects on the brain, and theobromine, a mild stimulant. Look for imported dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more.
7. Drink a glass of milk. It contains tryptophan, which as it is metabolized is converted to mood-boosting serotonin. Plus, its calcium, magnesium and potassium content may help keep blood pressure down.
8. Drink hot cocoa. Warm drinks raise your body temperature-a feeling we associate with comfort, so it triggers a similar response in our brains.
9. Order black tea instead of coffee. A study by University College London shows that drinking black tea four times a day for six weeks lowered the stress hormone cortisol after a stressful event.
10. Drink green tea-packed with theanine, which increases the brain’s output of relaxation-inducing alpha waves and reduces the output of tension-making beta waves.
11. Drink a glass of cold water, then go for a walk outside. The water gets your blood moving and the air invigorates by stimulating the endorphins that de-stress you.