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10 Healthy Foods That Calm & De-Stress

Hopefully, you had a calm and relaxing Mothers Day this Sunday. Perhaps you shared time with your mom, grandmother, sisters, and other influential women in your life today. Maybe you spoke on the phone, zoomed, skyped, facetimed, or messengered with your loved ones, yet you still connected - and that is what is important.

Maybe you are not able to share time with your mother anymore. I hope you were able to get outside in the sunshine today and use that time to reflect and reminisce about all the good times and laughter you shared together.

I know this has been a difficult few months and I hope you are taking care of yourself as best as you are able. To help you "stay calm and soldier on" as we continue through the weeks of social distancing, I have a list of the top ten naturally calming foods to nosh on:

#10: Tulsi Tea (holy basil)

A tea made from the leaves of the holy basil plant, known to keep cortisol levels in check.

#9: Turmeric

Curcumin is the special ingredient in this spice, which helps combat inflammation and helps maintain liver health

#8: Sardines (recipe)

Omega-3s, baby! These little fatty fish are full of them and because they are small, you don't need to be concerned about mercury levels.

#7: Parsley

Rich in stress-reducing flavonoids, this herb can be added to smoothies, salads, sauces, and stir-frys

#6: Extra Virgin Olive Oil (recipe)

The polyphenols in EVOO helps combat inflammation, which is exacerbated by stress

#5: Swiss chard

It's loaded with magnesium, the "anti-stress mineral", as is any leafy green, and can naturally soothe the nerves

#4: Mushrooms

Stress reduces our vitamin C, which mushrooms can replenish, and further support your immune system

#3: Pumpkin seeds

Rich in zinc, which helps the body manage stress, balance mood and support the immune system. Besides, these are great sprinkled on top of salad!

#2: Asparagus

Besides being loaded with anti-oxidants, asparagus contains tryptophan, which calms anxiety attacks

#1: Turkey

Contains l-trytophan, the amino acid that helps produce serotonin, the "feel good" hormone

So, there you have it. Add or maintain these foods in your daily routine and it will help to keep you sane during this stressful era we are living in.

Here is a recipe that is quick, easy, delicious and incorporates three calming items in one meal!

Recipe: Pasta de Sardines (yes, I am missing Portugal!)


8 oz pasta (I like fettucine) - cook per package instructions


1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 lemon, juiced (vitamin C)

1 3.75 oz can sardines, in tomato sauce

red pepper flakes - to taste

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook for about 8 minutes, or until almost tender.

  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook for a few minutes until soft, then add the garlic, and cook until fragrant. Stir in the sardines with their sauce. When the sardines heat through, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the pasta is ready.

  3. When the pasta is almost done, drain, and add it to the sardine sauce. Stir, cover, and turn the heat off. Let stand for a few minutes to absorb the flavors of the sauce. Squeeze juice from the lemon over the pasta. Divide onto serving plates, and top with red pepper flakes and grated Parmesan cheese.

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