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9 Foods you should eat as soon as you feel stressed out

Stressed out.

Not only is it a Grammy Award-winning song from the band Twenty One Pilots, it's also a very familiar state of mind for most people in high pressure situations, whether you're a parent, a CEO or anything in between.

Although it's nothing to be ashamed of, getting stressed out is something that can adversely affect your performance at work, not to mention your mental health, so you should do what you can to ensure your stress levels remain as low as possible. But how exactly do you go about that?

Have a coffee break. Hug a coworker. Read a nice relaxing Food Envy article. Oh, and eat these foods that'll go a long way toward relieving your stress.

1. Capsicum

So when we're stressed out, our bodies get to work, releasing a hormone called cortisol. Too much cortisol in our system, however, can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, as well as bouts of depression and anxiety. Luckily, capsicum helps to get rid some of the cortisol in our bloodstream. Plus it has a ton of vitamin C, which helps to boost your immunity. I recommend chopping them up into raw sticks, ready to munch on when your boss is getting on your back or Becky from accounting is giving you the cold shoulder, dipping them into some hummus for extra comfort.

2. Spinach

If you've ever seen the old-timey cartoon Popeye, you'll remember that for this cartoon sailor, a lot of his problems were solved by eating a can of spinach, getting super strong, and beating up a belligerent octopus or a bearded sailor who had kidnapped his girlfriend. It was a different time back then. Adding some spinach to your smoothie or breakfast omelette will inundate your body with folate, which is a chemical vital for producing serotonin and dopamine, your feel-good hormones. Eating spinach may not give you super strength, but I think that's probably the next best thing, don't you?

3. Cooked tomato

Like we've already mentioned with capsicums above, cooked tomatoes are really good at bringing down your levels of cortisol, but they're also jam-packed with a chemical called lycopene. Now, lycopene is great at reducing depressive symptoms, helping to prevent inflammation and blood clots too. So by having a few cooked tomatoes with your breakfast or having a nice tomato soup for lunch, you too can feel the great benefits of lycopene. Yay!

4. Avocado

Is there anything this green fruit can't do? I'm sure I don't need to give you much prompting to add more avocado to your diet when stressed out, but thanks to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients (including potassium, vitamin E, B vitamins, and our old friend folate), you have yet another excuse to cram down as much guacamole as your mouth will allow you. According to research published in the Nutriotion Journal, avocados keep you satiated throughout the day and do a great job regulating blood sugar levels, helping to keep your mood steady even in times of great stress.

5. Salmon

Oprah Winfrey's personal fave and by far the best fish to enjoy with some sushi or cream cheese (not at the same time, obviously), salmon is pretty good for relieving your stress, no matter what you're getting up to at that moment in time. It's an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which help to regulate your hormones and brighten your mood. In times of stress, your body often comes out with depleted levels of zinc, and salmon gets your zinc back to where it should be. So get plenty of salmon in your diet; whether that's for breakfast, lunch, or anything else in between. Not dessert, though. Ew.

6. Dark chocolate

In times of trouble, we tend to turn to Hershey's, Kit Kats and the like, leaving us suffering from a sugar crash by the time that mid-afternoon meeting rolls around. Not a good idea. The solution is actually way simpler than you might think: instead of eating milk chocolate, have yourself a couple squares of dark chocolate during that meeting. It's got tons of zinc and magnesium, and with magnesium deficiency being strongly linked to stress, you're going to have a much better time.

7. Walnuts

Walnuts are great. Not only are they wonderful tasting, but they're also good for a number of health benefits (including helping to prevent cancer). So it's no surprise that this super nut is great for improving your mood during a stressful day. They contain a plant form of Omega 3 fatty acid that your body converts to docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This helps to lower your levels of norepinephrine, which is a hormone which leaves you feeling anxious and irritable. So feel free to add a few to your salad, or just munch on them before lunch. Whatever works for you.

8. Sesame seeds

Sesame seeds are delicious, aren't they? Whether you're eating them on a burger bun, spread over some prawn toast or just shoveling them into your mouth willy-nilly, they're a great source of zinc, with around 10 mg of zinc per 100 g serving. Pretty neat. I recommend grinding them up with some butter creating a delicious tahini that's great on salads or as a dipping sauce for veggie sticks.

9. Turkey

Although you probably wouldn't think of it too often, turkey is actually a great idea for relieving your stress after a long hard day's work. Why do you think we have it at Thanksgiving Dinner? If not for turkey, having to see all our relatives at once would have driven us insane by now. Turkey is a great source of L-tryptophan, which is great for converting into serotonin. It's apparently good for making you more agreeable. Rather than bringing a live turkey into work and slaughtering it on your table, perhaps it's worth pairing it with a complex carb for a hearty, healthy, stress-relieving meal.

So there we go, ladies and gentlemen. It's not always easy to stay on top of things at work, but with a clear, open mind, plenty of meditation as well as a lunch menu full of these nine items, perhaps it won't be long before you'll be sailing through work with the carefree abandon of a child in a toy store. Or at least you'll be able to get through the day without burning down your office complex. Either way, I'd say that's a win.