The Ingredients That Help You Relax Are Probably In Your Kitchen Already, So Go & Indulge
I'm generally a pretty happy person, but I'd also say I tend to feel a pretty significant amount of stress on a regular basis. Whether it's about world events or something in my personal life, I'm certainly no stranger to feeling a little high-strung from time to time. And while reaching for energy-boosting foods can help you feel a little less overwhelmed by something like a hefty to-do list, I find that adding ingredients that help you relax to some of those foods really strikes that perfect balance between focus and ease.
While these foods will definitely help your mind and body simmer down in a moment of stress, paying attention to your overall nutrition is an important part of the equation, registered dietitian Jess English tells Elite Daily in an email. "I'd say ensuring an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals, and balancing your energy through the day (ensuring adequate carbohydrate, fat, and protein intake) is a sure-fire way to begin to relax properly," she explains.
In other words, if you're fueling your body with what it needs on a daily basis, you're less likely to be lacking in things like nutrients and minerals that might affect your mood. Here are a few ingredients to stock up on for all of your relaxation needs.
Fill up on all the nut butter your heart desires
For a day full of chill vibes, never skimp on your favorite nut butter again. According to English, almond butter contains "essential minerals like selenium, zinc, magnesium and vitamin E, [which] can help to bolster our moods and aid relaxation."
Slather the amazing stuff on a piece of whole grain bread, throw a couple of dollops into your smoothie, or heck, eat it straight — I'm not judging.
Add black beans to almost any meal
As someone who grew up in a Cuban family, I am a diehard black beans fan. They're cheap, they're delicious, and according to Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, founder of Nutrition Starring YOU and author of the book The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club, the magnesium-packed nutrients in these bad boys make them great for relaxation.
"Magnesium is required in hundreds of metabolic functions, yet most of Americans do not consume enough of this calming nutrient," Harris-Pincus tells Elite Daily in an email.
Crack open a can of salmon
I sometimes get a little weirded out by the thought of fish from a can, but Harris-Pincus says this ingredient is powerful in terms of its calm-inducing benefits. "Canned salmon and some canned tuna brands are a source of omega 3 fatty acids, which have been shown to play a role in reducing depression and anxiety," she explains.
If you're not that into the idea of just cracking open a can and eating the fish plain, try making tuna salad, or mixing the fish into a salad or with some rice.
Load up on the lavender (really)
You might think of lavender as an ingredient in your favorite lotion or the scent of your essential oils, so unless you're pretty adventurous in the kitchen, you might not realize that you can actually eat lavender. In fact, according to the Food Network, dried lavender has been used throughout history "to remedy various ailments including insomnia, anxiety, depression, and fatigue."
Personally, I discovered the delightful flavor of the flower when I bought a spice that contained a mixture of several herbs, so if you're unsure whether you'll like the taste of lavender or not, you might want to start off trying it with a couple of other familiar flavors.
Just reach for your favorite food
"When all else fails," says English, "you know best what helps you to relax. Pick some foods that you know you love and take the time out to enjoy them."
Whether you're a pizza person or love ice cream like no other, sometimes the key to relaxing is simply to treat yourself to exactly what you want.