Do you reach for the sweets and junk food when you’re feeling stressed? Sure, it tastes good for a second, but did you know there are a whole bunch of proven healthy food picks out there that actually help your body—and mind—get ready for relaxation mode?
According to celebrity nutritionist Paula Simpson, the key thing to look for is the magical mineral of magnesium. “This is my favorite mineral for beating stress. Magnesium, combined with B vitamins, helps to support a healthy nervous system,” she says. “It is a coenzyme in many cellular and metabolic reactions that keep the body fueled, relax muscles and calm nerves.” As an added bonus, many high-magnesium foods are also a good source of calcium.
So where can you find it? Here is a quick list of six foods to start out with:
Dark-green, leafy vegetables. Think spinach, kale and chard, which are also high in vitamin B.
Nuts and seeds. Sesame seeds are superhigh in magnesium, but the two that take the top billing are squash and pumpkin.
Fish. Most peg mackerel as one of the higher sources of magnesium in the fish department, but even options like tuna contain more than the average variety.
Chocolate. Sure, it can also be a source of satisfying a craving for sweets, but this is one old wives’ tale you have probably heard before that is, thankfully, totally true. Chocolate has magnesium, but it’s best to look for dark chocolate to get the benefits.
Soy Beans. White beans, black-eyed peas, kidney beans and chickpeas also hit the high-magnesium mark.
Whole, unrefined grains. Brown rice and quinoa are best, with grains like millet and bulgar following close behind.
And the list doesn’t stop there. You can also get find your magnesium fix through a few other easy options like avocados, bananas, low-fat dairy, and even dried fruits.