Beat Stress with Healthier Foods
Tryptophan - This amino acid is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and the hormone melatonin, two calming biochemicals. What food is richest in tryptophan? Sea lion kidneys. (If your tastes aren't that exotic, you can find it in seaweed, soy, eggs and sesame seeds.)
Omega-3s - These fatty acids help control stress-related hormones and are nutritionally beneficial to your cardiovascular system as well. Find them in cold-water oily fishes (salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines) as well as seaweed, walnuts, and flaxseeds.
Vitamin B6 - This vitamin helps the body build such neurotranmitters as serotonin, and may help boost immunity. Find it in chicken breast, yellowfin tuna, bell peppers, spinach, peanuts, beans, legumes, and whole grains.
Vitamin B12 - B12 is key to serotonin and melatonin production. Foods high in vitamin B12 include shellfish, liver, meats, and any of the fishes high in omega 3s.
Folic acid - Also known as vitamin B9 or folate, folic acid is an essential vitamin (the body can't produce it alone). It helps fight depression and fatigue. Eat liver, herbs, sunflower seeds, edamame, dark leafy greens, and beans to get adequate B9.
Melatonin - This hormone regulates your sleep-wake cycle and has calming effects. Oats, dairy foods and rice contain small amounts, but to really affect your melatonin levels you should also eat foods high in tryptophan, which is melatonin's precursor.
L-theanine - This amino acid derivative is shown to lower blood pressure and reduce stress. Find it in green teas and bay bolete mushrooms.