Here we are again: it’s mid-April, the semester is coming to a close, and finals are the only thing standing between you and summer vacation. Time to write those 15-page papers and do all the reading you’ve neglected since February. The pressure is on, but fortunately, there are some foods that you can nosh on to eradicate that finals-time anxiety. Instead of breaking into your stash of Girl Scout cookies, Dorito’s, and sugar-free Red Bulls, treat your nerves to these stress-soothing foods:
Chocked full of magnesium, spinach can lower stress levels and ward off headaches and fatigue. One cup provides 40 percent of your daily value, so add it to a morning omelet, a sandwich, or a salad to get your full dose.
In addition to being an immune system booster, vitamin C has been proven to prevent the secretion of stress hormones from the brain. So, snack on an orange, right? Wrong. Red and yellow bell peppers have 3-4 times the amount of vitamin C of an orange. Strawberries and papayas are excellent sources as well.
Researchers have found that raw almonds keep you fuller longer, decrease bad cholesterol, and bolster the immune system (thanks to the fact that they’re crammed with vitamin E). And, you guessed it- almonds also reduce stress, since they’re filled with vitamin B.
What if almonds aren’t your thing? Try almond butter. It’s seriously delicious and if you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out. Spread some on apple slices or whole-grain toast for a quick, healthy snack.
The monosaturated fat and potassium in avocados can lower blood pressure. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, getting enough potassium is key to reducing high blood pressure. By eating half of an avocado (about 150 calories), you’ll get more potassium than you’d find in a medium-sized banana. Avocados are also great as a salad topping or sandwich-stuffer. Check out Whats Cooking America for a plethora of avocado-centered recipes.
Salmon is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that keep pesky stress hormones, namely cortisol and adrenaline, at bay. Plus, they prevent heart disease. According to a study by the American Medical Association, eating a three-ounce serving of fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and light tuna, wards off heart disease.