Foods That Reduce Stress: 7 Soups For Instant Stress Relief
- The best way to lower the stress-causing cortisol hormone in the body is to focus on an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Warm vegetable soups when included in your daily diet can lower cortisol levels.
- Typical African soups contain many nutrients that beat stress.
- Alongside, it is important to make some tweak in your overall lifestyle for better stress management.
You have been trying really hard to crack a deal in your business but are unable to. It makes you angry and sad at the same time. Naturally, you may be stressed, and be feeing anxious at the same time!
Stress is the body's normal reaction to a challenge or a change. Stress helps us to adjust better to new situations. The body has a built-in stress response called the 'fight or flight response', which allows it to handle stress. Stress can be short-term or long-term depending upon your circumstances. Some amount of stress is good for us but prolonged stress has negative effects on our health.
But just as stress finds its way into your life, you can drive all the stress away from your life too! Many times, people under stress resort to unhealthy habits like drinking alcohol, smoking, substance abuse, overeating or undereating, etc. This can worsen your stress and cause detrimental effects on your health.
However, simple dietary changes with foods that help reduce stress can help you stay stress-free. There are various foods available which reduce the body's cortisol (stress hormone) levels and reduce stress.
Here we will talk about the most popular soups for stress relief you can easily make at home.
Foods that reduce stress
The best way to lower cortisol in the body is to focus on an anti-inflammatory diet, which includes fresh, natural, and whole foods, and fewer or no processed foods.
- Fortified whole grains are rich in Vitamin B12 which lowers cortisol levels in the body.
- Foods rich in omega-3-fatty acids fight inflammation and reduce stress. These include avocados, walnuts, and flax seeds.
- Magnesium-rich foods reduce inflammation and relax the mind and body. These include bananas, broccoli, dark chocolate, and spinach.
- Protein-rich foods also reduce stress and improve blood sugar levels. These are chickpeas, almonds, peanuts, quinoa.
Why soups are good for instant stress relief
Soups are liquid delicacies to be precise. They are usually made from different kinds of food substances such as fresh vegetables, meat, and seafood, and are mouth-watering.
But did you know that apart from providing you with a warm and savory indulgence, soups can benefit your health and reduce all that stress which you were trying to reduce for so long? You read that right.
Consuming warm soup on a regular basis is known to calm the mind and promote a sense of relief by reducing cortisol levels. Different fruits, vegetables, leafy vegetables, tubers, bulbs, legumes, and other herbal extracts are used as main ingredients in soup and most of these possess valuable sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and also contain a large group of compounds that could help maintain the body's health and well-being.
The most common ingredients in African and Nigerian soups are as follows:
- Pepper: Peppers or capsicum is a popular ingredient in soups. It is rich in antioxidants like carotenes, polyphenols, and Vitamins E and C which help to reduce stress.
- Onions: Onions are the most used flavoring vegetable in the world. They are a good source of flavonoid compounds; in particular, quercetin and quercetin derivatives which are potent antioxidants that reduce stress.
- Pumpkin: Pumpkins have a potential source of bioactive compounds like polyphenols, carotenoids, tocopherols, sterols, bioactive proteins, peptides, dietary fiber, pre-and probiotics, and fatty acids. All these promote health and well-being.
- Spinach: It is rich in antioxidant components like quercetin, patuletin, spinacetin. It also contains dietary fiber, and vitamins A and E.
- Ogbono seeds: These are usually dried and used in soups in Nigeria. They are rich in antioxidants, fiber, potassium, vitamins B and C, and tryptophan which enhances the production of serotonin. Serotonin hormone improves mood, concentration, and sleep quality.
7 types of soups for instant stress relief
1. Afang soup: It is made using pepper, onion, periwinkle, beef, fish, and waterleaf.
2. Edikaikong soup: This is a Nigerian specialty consisting of onions, pumpkin leaves, meat, and seafood.
3. Achu soup: This comes from Cameroon in central Africa and is made from spices, fish, palm oil, and limestone which is anti-inflammatory.
4. Efo riro soup: This is a Nigerian spinach stew mainly comprising spinach and water.
5. Ogbono soup: It is made from dried Ogbono seeds, palm oil, meat, fish, chili pepper, onions, and tomatoes.
6. Frik soup: This is an Algerian delicacy and is popular during the Ramadan season in the country. It contains meat and crushed green wheat, a rich source of magnesium, phosphorus, and fiber.
7. Nigerian Egusi soup: It is made using melon seeds which are rich in Vitamins A, B1, B2, and C.
How to live an overall stress-free life
Alongside eating the right foods to reduce stress, you can easily live a stress-free life by following some simple changes in your lifestyle. Try incorporating these changes into your routine:
- Get moving: Any type of physical activity is good for you. It pumps up the endorphins in the brain which are feel-good hormones that increase your sense of well-being. Aerobic exercises like walking, jogging, swimming, or biking are great to start with.
- Eat healthily: Eat a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fresh fruits like oranges, lemons, avocados, and berries are rich in Vitamin C which combats stress effectively. Green leafy vegetables are rich in minerals and B complex vitamins that can also help reduce your stress levels. Whole grains are also known to calm your mind.
- Meditate: Practicing meditation is one of the best ways to beat stress. Sit in a quiet place and focus your attention on your breathing. It helps your mind to align your thoughts and get rid of the saturated thoughts. It promotes a sense of calm, peace, and tranquility.
- Laugh more: Laughter is indeed the best medicine. It can make you feel better and relax you. Laughing may not cure an illness but, it lightens your mood and lowers your stress response. Share some jokes with your family and friends, and develop a good sense of humor.
- Connect socially: Stress often makes us isolated from others. However, connecting with others can be a great way to forget stressful situations and divert your mind. Speaking your mind out loud helps to relieve stress and relax you. So call your friend, or go for a walk with your sibling and share a moment of relief.
- Sleep well: Sleeping well is an underrated way of dealing with stress. When you don't sleep well your body can experience stress and stress itself can make falling asleep difficult. Try practicing sleep hygiene to sleep better at night. This includes sleeping at the same time at night and waking up at the same time each morning, cutting out all electronic devices from your bedroom, ensuring your bedroom is a quiet, dark, and comfortable place, and avoiding large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
Stress can hamper your health and take a toll on your mood. Stress cannot be avoided but can be managed with a few easy changes to your lifestyle and diet. Foods that reduce stress such as chicken, avocados, bananas, and dark chocolate are a great way to start off with.
Soups are a warm and tasty way of tackling stress. Made with fresh and healthy nutrients from fruits, vegetables, and meat, the consumption of soups on a regular basis helps you to relax and reduce stress. So, starting now, make sure you include some healthy soups for your health into your diet!
Did you like our Article?
- Stress available from Clevelandclinic
- Salleh MR. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences: MJMS. 2008 Oct;15(4):9.
- Stress relievers: Tips to tame stress available from Mayoclinic
- Tips for better sleep available from CDC
- Eat These Foods to Reduce Stress and Anxiety available from Health Cleveland Clinic
- Yajima J, et al. Psychology. 2015;6(09):1108.
- Fernández-López J, et al. Plants. 2020 Dec 14;9(12):1769
Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
Aug, 01 2023