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Do some foods help relieve stress? 

Yes, there are foods you can eat that will actually help lower your stress level. When we are stressed, our brains are often missing a chemical called serotonin. Serotonin is a calming chemical in our brain that makes us happy. There are foods that actually boost the serotonin levels in your brain. There are other foods that reduce levels of cortisol and adrenaline. Both are hormones that negatively affect the body over a period of time and lead to higher stress levels. You can also relieve your stress levels through maintaining a well-balanced, nutritious diet. A healthy diet lowers blood pressure and boosts your immune system, ultimately leading to lower levels of stress.

Want to get started on lowering your stress? Here is a list of foods that will do just that.

• Whole-grain foods, like other complex carbohydrates, prompt the brain to make serotonin.

• Oranges reduce stress hormones and boost the immune system due to the large amount of vitamin C provided.

• Spinach contains magnesium, which regulates cortisol levels.

• Fatty fish, like salmon and tuna, keep your cortisol and adrenaline levels balanced.

• Black tea balances your cortisol levels.

• Pistachios lower blood pressure and impact stress hormones.

• Avocados contain high levels of potassium that reduce high blood pressure.

• Almonds contain vitamins B and E. Both boost the immune system and help impact stress hormones.

• Raw veggies help in stopping stress mechanically through relieving a clinched jaw and tension headaches.

• Milk contains calcium that reduces muscle spasms, soothes tension and eases anxiety and mood swings linked to PMS.

For more information on stress-relieving foods or to set up an appointment for nutritional counseling, contact Rebecca Lee, registered dietician at East Jefferson General Hospital, at (504) 454-4077.

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