Over half of Americans (55 percent) report feeling stressed during the day. Furthermore, 63 percent of Americans say they’re ready to quit their jobs because of high stress.
If you feel stressed often, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are many solutions to help you feel better — including changing your diet.
Eating more vegetables could help you manage your stress more effectively. Find out how (and which vegetables to start adding to your diet) below.
How Vegetables Reduce Stress
A 2021 study revealed that eating more vegetables (and fruits) was correlated with lower stress levels. Participants who consumed at least 470 grams of fruit and vegetables each day had 10 percent lower stress levels than those who consumed under 230 grams.
The study’s lead researcher, Simone Radavelli-Bagatini, explained that fruit and vegetable consumption influences stress levels by providing essential nutrients, including “vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and carotenoids.”
These nutrients reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which are associated with increased stress and anxiety, as well as a lower mood overall.
The Best Stress-Busting Veggies
Which vegetables will provide the most significant stress-busting results? Here are some of the most important ones to include in your diet:
Oat grass is a good source of zinc and vitamin C.
Zinc is a mineral that helps to stabilize the body’s stress hormone levels and temporarily inhibit secretions of the stress hormone cortisol. Zinc deficiency has been linked to increased cortisol levels and increased inflammation throughout the body.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies also show that those who consume vitamin C supplements experience less anxiety compared to those who do not.
Broccoli is another good source of vitamin C. One 148-gram serving contains 132 milligrams — More than 1.5 times the recommended daily amount!
Broccoli is also a good source of carotenoids like lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin.
Carotenoids have been shown to reduce feelings of psychological stress and lower serum cortisol levels. They also promote good eye health.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable rich in magnesium. One cup of raw spinach contains about 24 milligrams, but a cup of cooked spinach contains 157 milligrams — more than a quarter of the daily recommended amount.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in helping the body manage stress. Specifically, it diminishes the stress response that occurs when the body produces stress hormones like catecholamines and glucocorticoids. Low magnesium is also associated with poor sleep and increased headaches, neither of which is ideal when you’re already stressed.
Asparagus is a good source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as the mineral chromium. All of the nutrients have anxiety-reducing properties.
Chromium may also prevent and minimize feelings of depression.
Some researchers believe these effects are due to chromium’s impact on insulin and tryptophan, an amino acid that converts to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Low serotonin levels are associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Beets contain magnesium and vitamin C. They also contain nitrates, which can relax the blood vessels and reduce blood pressure levels. Lower blood pressure improves blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which can help to lower stress and anxiety.
If you want to increase your intake of beneficial carotenoids, add more carrots to your diet. Carrots specifically contain lutein and beta-carotene, which both offer stress-busting and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Carrots also contain vitamin C and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Vitamin B6 is associated with reduced stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression.
These results likely have to do with the fact that vitamin B6 increases levels of gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA). GABA plays a critical role in reducing stress and anxiety.
Many of your favorite spices are good sources of stress-reducing nutrients. For example, garlic contains magnesium, zinc, and vitamin C.
Garlic is also a good source of vitamin E, which is another antioxidant associated with reduced inflammation and oxidative stress, which are associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety disorders.
Ginger is another beneficial spice that adds flavor and stress-busting benefits.
For example, ginger is associated with better blood sugar management. Stress hormones like cortisol cause blood sugar levels to rise. Incorporating more ginger in your diet can help to reduce blood sugar spikes and crashes and minimize physiological symptoms associated with stress and anxiety.
Kale is a popular dark leafy green vegetable known for its vast array of nutrients.
Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as magnesium. It also contains the carotenoids lutein and beta-carotene. All of these nutrients help to reduce inflammation and combat oxidative stress in the body.
Barley grass is a nutritional powerhouse — especially for those struggling with high stress levels and mental health challenges like anxiety or depression.
Barley grass contains GABA, vitamins A, C, and E, and tryptophan (which supports serotonin production). It’s also packed with polyphenols and flavonoids that fight against oxidative stress and inflammation.
Dandelion greens provide lots of vitamins A, C, and E — all powerful antioxidants. They also contain magnesium, which is known for reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality.
Along with beneficial vitamins and minerals, dandelion greens also contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that supports cellular health and reduces oxidative stress. They’re rich in polyphenols, too.
Some research also suggests dandelion greens can improve blood sugar balance, which may also impact stress and anxiety levels. Their blood sugar-balancing compounds include chicoric and chlorogenic acids.
Up Your Veggie Intake, Lower Your Stress
Increasing your vegetable intake is a simple and effective way to lower stress and improve your overall health.
All vegetables offer nutritional benefits that can help you feel your best. However, the veggies discussed above are particularly powerful for people struggling with high stress levels.
If you want to consume more of these veggies but don’t know how you’re going to find time to buy and prepare them every day, Substance is here to help.
Our Nature’s Sustenance supplements feature over 20 fruits, vegetables, and greens to ensure your body functions at its peak.
Order your first bottle today.