How to Eat for Stress Relief

Often when we are stressed we experience food cravings… and we don’t always want healthy foods. In fact, common stress-induced cravings such as sugar can create energy highs and lows that just leave you more stressed. But what if you could nourish your stressed-out body with certain foods? It may be that you can!

Eating a healthy diet is important in managing stress and living a healthy lifestyle. Did you know there are some foods that are better “stress busters” than others? Here are the top seven foods to eat for stress relief and a quick and easy recipe for sauteed asparagus or greens.


1. Red Meat
Red meat has been demonized over the years as an unhealthy food due to it’s saturated fat content. However, red meat (especially beef) tops the list as it contains important anti-stress vitamins like B12 and other B vitamins. Red meat also contains important minerals; zinc and iron, which, like the B vitamins, are great mood stabilizers and energy-enhancers. In fact, beef is a very nutrient-dense food and generally quick to prepare. Some experts suggest that grass-fed beef is higher in nutrients than grain-fed, feed-lot beef.

2. Asparagus
Popular in the spring when it first comes into season, asparagus also helps you feel more mentally and emotionally stable. This is due to its high folic acid content, which is needed to make serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that promotes a positive mood.

3. Oranges
Rich in Vitamin C, oranges help nourish the adrenal glands. These small glands located over the kidneys “eat up” vitamin C and need a lot of it when you’re stressed, because stress taxes the adrenals.

4. Bell Peppers
These are also rich in vitamin C, and are helpful in nourishing the adrenal glands. Remember, adrenaline and cortisol, the stress hormones, are produced by the adrenals. They need a lot of nourishment when you’re stressed out.

5. Dark Leafy Greens
What makes green leafy veggies such as spinach, kale, collards, mustard, turnip, beet greens and swiss chard so good for stress management? It’s probably the magnesium, a mineral that you need more of when you’re stressed. Magnesium is necessary for optimal nerve and muscle function, which can prevent headaches and enhance sleep.

6. Salmon and Tuna Fish
Also high in magnesium, salmon and tuna are high in protein and healthy fats. These essential fatty acids can help manage stress hormone surges and help mood problems like depression. Tuna is high in stress-fighting vitamins B6 and B12.

7. Nuts
Most nuts are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant and vitamin that helps fight the free radicals that can be brought on by stress. Almonds have the additional perk of being high in magnesium.

These are just a few of the wonderful healthy foods that can help your body fight off stress.

Sauteed Asparagus or Greens

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes


  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • Asparagus or swiss chard or greens of your choice or combination of
  • 1 clove of garlic, sliced
  • red bell pepper if desired


  1. Add grapeseed oil to a preheated heavy bottomed skillet (I prefer cast iron). Add washed and trimmed asparagus and saute stirring often, when nearly done add garlic and bell pepper if desired. Continue to cook until vegetables are tender crisp.
  2. Asparagus takes a bit longer to cook than leafy greens will, add greens, garlic and bell pepper all at once and saute just until green are wilted.

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