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Foods to lower your stress levels

The stress hormone cortisol stimulates appetite[1] and leads to weight gain, is linked with depression[2] anxiety, stops you sleeping, lowers your immunity and is known as ‘the ageing hormone[3].’ Of course regular doses of cortisol are necessary for us to function – we need it to wake us up in the morning - but too much and we crash and burn. Find out how to reduce your levels, when stress is soaring.

Jerusalem Artichoke Soup

Made with leek, onion, garlic and Jerusalem artichoke, this soup is packed with prebiotics (foods that feed healthy probiotic bacteria). So how can prebiotics lower stress? Oxford University neurobiologist Phil Burnet recently discovered the answer. In May 2015 he published a paper showing that healthy volunteers who consumed prebiotics had lower levels of cortisol following a stress test. According to Burnet the results were comparable to the effects of anti-anxiety medications[4].

Strawberry Chocolate Muffins

When stress and sugar cravings descend, these ridiculously delicious muffins will calm your nerves (Prepare and freeze ahead so you can warm one up when you’re feeling overwhelmed).

A 2014 study from the University of Bern in Switzerland revealed that eating dark chocolate can reduce the effects of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol[5].

Warm Superfood Salad[6]

Supporting your liver will help you break down and release stress hormones from the body. One of the best ways to do that is to eat more cruciferous vegetables – like cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower. These powerful plants contain sulforaphane an anti-inflammatory enzyme that stimulates the liver into action. Bitter foods – like lemon, rocket, watercress and apple cider vinegar – also support the liver and keep you alkaline while the warming spice turmeric also has powerful liver protecting properties[7].

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