Food to Relax

‘You are what you eat’ as the saying goes; so if you want to eat and relax, then check out these ten foods that can help.

Believe it or not; our moods, feelings and ability to stay calm are all affected by the food that we consume. There are times when you need more calories and sugars to be able to complete a long bike ride or keep warm on a cold day. Yet by giving a little consideration to our food; our bodies will take care of the rest. Personally, I try to stay relaxed all day long even when working hard. So I have researched and now eat food to relax.

Please bear in mind I am not a qualified nutritionist; just a guy who has read and researched the subject. Neither am I mother hen; so go forth and find your own food in your own good time. The food items listed below are all inexpensive and healthy; so please consider them if you are not already doing so, bon appetit:


1. Apple

There is an old saying that goes: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”.

Apple jack!

Well an apple can also keep stress away too because of naturally occurring chemicals. These chemicals would normally help the apple survive harsh weather and attacks from insects and birds. These same chemicals have an anti-depressant effect on humans; as well as slowly releasing energy to keep your spirits up. Apples are also a good source of potassium; which helps your nervous system.


2. Bananas

Monkeys always seem happy and maybe that is because they eat lots of bananas!

Smile!

Bananas are good food in so many ways! First they are high in natural sugar that will keep you focused and not grumpy. They are high in potassium too; so will help the nerves. They also contain Vitamin B6 and tryptophan; which convert to serotonin in the human body. With serotonin being the chemical that is thought to regulate mood.


3. Lemon

Don’t be bitter; have a lemon! Well you can mix lemon juice with water and it goes down easy!

Don’t be a lemon; use them in your diet!

For a start, a lemon contains high levels of Vitamin C; which will improve your immune system and stop you feeling low in the first place. If you do become stressed your body will produce a chemical called: Cortisol. Cortisol is produced to increase energy levels so you can deal with a stressful situation. For example: running away from a dangerous animal. However, too much Cortisol in your body will cause you to feel irritable. The Vitamin C in lemon will suppress the release of Cortisol.


4. Honey

Honey is a sweet healthy treat! On toast, or porridge, in coffee or tea; try and get honey into your diet every day.

Sweet as honey!

Honey contains very high levels of tryptophan; that amino acid that turns into serotonin to make you feel happy and melatonin to help you feel relaxed. Personally I put a spoonful in my morning coffee. Yet you can try it with many foods anytime of day. If you forget; have a spoonful but no double dipping!


5. Eggs

Don’t become ‘eggacerbated’; become ‘eggstra’ relaxed eating eggs.

Eggactly!

By eating eggs in the morning; you feel more full because of their high protein content. This means hunger pains will not affect your daily activities. On top of this eggs contain a chemical called: Choline. This chemical is essential for the body to produce another chemical called: Acetylcholine; which regulates parts of the brain that deal with stress and mood. It does not stop there; eggs are also high in Vitamin D which helps deal with anxiety and depression.


6. Porridge or Oatmeal

Be as stoic as a Quaker by eating porridge for breakfast or maybe later!

You will never quake with porridge inside you!

Porridge or Oatmeal in American; is a simple yet stress busting meal anytime of the day. For a start, it is warm and soothing; especially when made with milk. Then with milk it is a great source of tryptophan; remember, that chemical that converts into serotonin to help regulate moods. In addition, oatmeal is a great source of melatonin; which help us to relax and sleep. Furthermore, oats are high in calcium and magnesium; two minerals that help the body to function, repair and relax!

Top tip: If you are running late and do not have time to make porridge; try preparing flapjacks the night before.


7. Celery

Hippocrates, the Greek doctor dude from 2,000 years ago; said that one should eat celery to calm the nerves!

Yes, that often over looked vegetable celery; is a great secret weapon to relax. Studies have shown that eating celery can lower blood pressure in the body. In addition, celery can help create white blood cells; which help fight off disease and infections. Celery also contains a natural chemical called: Phthalides. This chemical helps the liver detoxify the blood; thus improving blood flow to the brain and nervous system.

Top tip: to get the most out of celery; it is best eaten raw because many of its benefits are lost in the cooking process. So, chewing on a few sticks with a sprinkling of sea salt; is a great way to relax and build an appetite before a healthy meal.


8. Oily tinned fish: mackerel, sardines, salmon, anchovies…

Have a fishy on your dishy and feel all warm, relaxed and squishy!

Always look for the high in Omega-3 label

Love or hate them; oily tinned fish are a frugal and fantastically healthy meal. Eat them cold straight out the tin; on toast, in a salad, or even a paella, yet just eat them! Why? Well they are rich in a good polyunsaturated fatty acid called: Omega-3. This acid has been proven to reduce inflammation of the blood system and reduce the risk of heart disease. So like a rocket ship on high octane fuel; we will be operating on full power throughout the day. Then if we have had a good day; we are more likely to stay relaxed and happy as well. Studies have also found that patients suffering from anxiety and depression have very low levels of Omega-3.

Top tip: aim to have oily fish at least twice a week.


9. Cherries

Live life, eat, drink, sleep, breathe, laugh and cry, learn, turn, run and relax; do more, yet always do it with a cherry on top!

Eat cherries as often as possible and stay merry!

Chelan cherries ready for a smoothie:P

These little red beauties are an amazing present from mother nature. For a start, they are one of the few sources of melatonin; the chemical that regulates are body clock and enables us to get a goods nights sleep! Studies have shown that by eating cherries or drinking cherry juice on a daily basis; improves the length and quality of your sleep. So if you are sleeping well you will be well awake too!
Also, they are a great source of: Vitamins B and C, potassium, copper and manganese! Which all help our blood and nervous systems.
Wow, so much in such a little package!

Top tip: try to eat raw dark cherries instead of sweet glazed cherries


10. Turmeric

This nice spice comes from a flowering plant in the ginger family. Normally sprinkled over a curry to give it flavour and colour; it also gives you a whole lot more!

Used in Asian cuisine since time immemorial; turmeric is one of mother natures natural medicines. Turmeric contains a compound chemical called: Curcumin; which is proven to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. With antioxidant meaning it reduces the risk of infections as well as ageing! Anti-inflammatory meaning it helps the body deal with harmful stimuli.

In addition, studies have shown that Curcumin is a natural anti-depressant. With one study even showing that it is effective as Prozac! Adrian Lorpresti of Murdoch University, Australia; states that: Curcumin improves pathways in the brain that deal with anxiety and depression. It also reduces stress hormones; such as: cortisol.

However, there have been reports that turmeric can contain high levels of lead. This is because the regions where it is grown in Bangladesh; are susceptible to heavy rain. This heavy rain causes Turmeric to lose its bright colour; which detracts from its use to colour food. So yes, in this crazy world; some people are risking lead poisoning for the sake of pretty colourful food!

Top tip: always use pepper with turmeric; because compounds in pepper enable you to get the best out of turmeric. Also to get the real benefits of turmeric try taking a Curcumin supplement; as a little sprinkle on your midweek curry will not be enough to enjoy its benefits.


So there you have it; get in the kitchen and get cooking. Do not take my word for it; do your own research and enjoy what you eat. Eat well and eat to be healthy, happy and relaxed.

Subscribe and look out for upcoming blogs; packed with more food and drinks to keep you on a route to relax.

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