Here’s What to Eat After a Really Stressful Day (It’s Not Pizza)

pesto zoodles
Photo Credit: Cookie and Kate

February 11, 2021

Your boss/client/coworker has been at you all day. You forgot to send your BFF a birthday gift. And while you’re wearing active wear, the only active thing you’ve done is get up to get more coffee. In short, you’ve had a stressful day. The good news? Relief is a healthy meal away. So instead of leaning into your very bad day and ordering pizza, consider making dinner with one of these stress relieving foods.

6 Foods That Reduce Stress

“Research has shown that the food we eat is directly correlated with mood,” says Eliza Savage, registered dietician at New York City-based Middleberg Nutrition. “Cortisol, the hormone most frequently associated with stress, plays an important role with blood sugar regulation, weight, immunity — and can be directly affected by what you’re consuming.”

Here are six stress-busting foods Savage recommends.

Pumpkin and Sunflower Seeds

Seeds that are rich in magnesium can help take your stress levels down from an 11. “Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are rich sources of magnesium, which is a natural relaxant in the body,” Savage says. Both also bring salty, crunchy, savory flavor to a dish.

Recipes to try:

Salmon avocado boats
Photo Credit: Fit Foodie Finds

Salmon

“Fatty fish like salmon packs a powerful good-mood punch,” Savage says. “Salmon is full of omega-3s and proteins that support the building of mood-boosting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.”

Recipes to try:

avocado egg salad
Photo Credit: Two Peas and Their Pod

Kimchi and Greek Yogurt

“There truly is a gut/brain connection, so foods rich in probiotics like fermented vegetables and Greek yogurt are definitely mood (and gut) boosting,” says Savage.

Recipes to try:

bone broth
Photo Credit: Joe Lingeman / Kitchn

Bone Broth

Collagen found in bone broth works to heal the protective lining of the digestive tract, improving gut motility and digestive distress,” Savage says. “Restoring the functionality of the gut improves nutrient absorption and can help you to feel your best inside and out.” Said a different way? Heal your gut, reduce your stress.

Recipes to try: