Which foods are able to act as natural relaxants and anti-depressants is a question I’m often asked by clients.
To begin with, an overall balanced diet is always helpful. By that I mean a clean wholefood diet with the minimum possible amount of processed food intake. Macronutrient modulation varies and depends on factors such as your:
- activity level
- overall fitness level
- body composition
- body related goals
Probably the best healthy ratio is:
- up to 20% healthy fats
- 30-40% lean protein
- 40-50% carbohydrates.
We’ll talk about an ideal macronutrients' modulation ratio in another article in more detail.
Returning to the main topic, the following is a (non-exhaustive) list of foods with calming and relaxing properties:
1) Almost all fruits and berries: They are full of fructose and antioxidants. Fructose is the quickest carb (source of energy) after refined sugar, and your body will automatically feel happier and more
relaxed with more glucose in the bloodstream. However, do keep in mind that if you aim to become leaner you will have to pursue a diet with a low fructose content.
2) Oily fish. Fish oil is well-known nutrient that increases the brain’s metabolism. By combining fish oil with nootropics you can easily achieve a state of calm and have a clearer mind. Book a consultation to get a list of over-the- counter nootropics.
3) Herbal tea. A blend of mint, chamomile, artichoke and lavender is one of the best relaxation options.
4) Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cacao are four spices that were historically used as natural mood lifters and relaxants. Adding a sprinkle of cinnamon in your coffee can help, or even simply inhaling their scent.
5) Chicken hearts and liver are perfect sources of essential amino acids, vitamin B, choline, inositol and Iron. This combination of nutrients is one of the most effective ‘cocktails’ for boosting the central nervous system.
6) Despite the negative publicity and misconceptions surrounding the consumption of egg
yolks, the high concentration of cholesterol in them is designed by nature as a perfect source of nutrients. Rich in lecithin, vitamin B, amino acids, choline, inositol, vitamins A and E, phosphatidyl serine and many more beneficial substances, egg yolks alone could provide your body with almost everything it needs. However, do not exceed the healthy allowance. Have 1-3 whole eggs a day, adding some separated egg whites if you need to increase your protein intake.
6) Now anyone with a sweet tooth can celebrate - Dark Chocolate!!! Yes, having a piece or twoof dark chocolate each day will definitely help your body to boost its ‘positive vibe’ hormones.
7) Have a glass of wine. Yes, and YES again!!! But only one, and make sure it’s a high qualitywine. First of all, a glass of wine is an additional 75 kcal of quick energy that your body will be grateful for. Secondly, high quality wine contains a high concentration of bio-flavonoids and antioxidants. Taken in a moderate quantities, wine can also act as a minor natural relaxant. And remember, even if you eat healthily all the time and are a fitness fanatic, allowing your body a little bit of what you really love is always beneficial. By keeping your diet 95% clean, let’s say, you will have even better results than confining yourself to a strict regimen of traditional lean and mean boiled chicken breast, rice and broccoli.