It’s not just adults that have to deal with stress.
The teenage years are among some of the hardest. There are various hormonal changes that we don’t understand and life around other teenagers is hard. Kids are mean!
Be honest. Would you like to go back to your teenage years? Would you like to deal with other teenagers, while going through problems with acne and exams? Think about how stressed you were at the time. Even if you believe it’s harder now, you must admit that you felt stressed when you were in high school.
Teenagers can control their stress levels through their diet. While some will reach for the chocolate and chips, the types of foods aren’t doing them any favours. These types of foods are increasing their blood sugar and causing an increase in stress hormones in the body. It’s time to encourage your teenagers to eat a good diet that helps them handle the stress they feel.
Here are the top nine foods they need to eat to help them handle their stress.
Encourage Snacking on Nuts
Let’s start with the nuts. Unless your teens are allergic to nuts, there is no reason not to give them. If your teens are allergic, then opt for seeds as a close alternative. While seeds aren’t as good, they’re better than the other snack food that you get from the grocery store.
Nuts specifically are full of nutrients that help to overcome problems with stress. Mix them up, you can get the benefits of Almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, and pistachios.
You get plenty of vitamin E in nuts. This is a nutrient that’s commonly overlooked. While it’s considered good for the skin, people forget that it’s good for the rest of the body. It’s an antioxidant that supports the immune system, which is hindered during times of stress. Your teen will feel healthier within and find it easier to focus and get through a day.
Nuts also have plenty of B vitamins. These vitamins tend to be relatively hard to get unless you focus on fibre-filled foods. Getting enough B vitamins will help to improve the nervous system and limit muscle spasms. When your child feels less pain, the stress hormones take a dip. Your child feels happier, sending more happy hormones around the body to get rid of the stress.
Your child will also get plenty of selenium, especially with just one Brazil nut a day! Selenium is a nutrient that we are all commonly deficient in but causes fatigue. When we’re tired, we find it harder to deal with stressful situations, and it’s harder for the brain to release the happy hormones. Choose Brazil nuts from South America.
You only need a handful of nuts to get all the benefits. Most schools have a nut-free policy, opt for them after school as a snack between the end of school and dinner. The fiber in nuts will help to keep your teen full.
Increase Healthy Fats with Avocados
The body needs fat. While your teenager may be worried about their weight, they need to get some healthy fats. And yes, I want to emphasize the importance of healthy fats.
Put the junk food away and pull out the avocados. The fruit tends to get a bad reputation, but half to one avocado a day is all your body needs to get the nutritious unsaturated fats. You can chop it up and place it in sandwiches, eat it raw, or blend it down to put in a green smoothie. Homemade guacamole is also an interesting way to get it into your diet.
Avocados can help to reduce the blood pressure. While you may not think your child is at an age to worry about that, high-stress levels do lead to high blood pressure. They’re both silent killers and can affect anyone of any age. They don’t discriminate!
Healthy fats will help to keep the cholesterol levels to a minimum. They line the arteries and intestines with a protective layer, making it easier for the blood to flow around the body. By getting more oxygenated blood, teenagers will feel more energized and happier. Getting through a day is much easier, and they can focus on a healthier life. The stress hormones take a hit, as the happy hormones spread around the body.
And let’s not forget about the potassium levels. You likely know that you need bananas for potassium, but avocados have far more. In fact, you can get more potassium from half an avocado than you will from a banana! The potassium helps to improve energy levels and keep blood pressure down. When the blood pressure is reduced, the body doesn’t have to work overtime, and stress hormones are depleted.
Start the Day with a Bowl of Oatmeal
Oats are something you want to stock up on. A bowl of oatmeal a day will give a teenager the best start. There are a few reasons for this.
First, oatmeal is full of fiber. You likely already know this, and you should know why fiber is good for the body. It’s an essential macronutrient that helps to keep the digestive system working. Did you know that 80% of the immune system lives in the digestive system? If this gets backed up or has excess gas, you’ll find your immune system doesn’t work right. This is the case for teenagers too. Digestive discomforts lead to increased stress hormones.
At the same time, oatmeal is full of carbohydrates to give good levels of energy throughout the day. Carbs are known for producing serotonin, a relaxing chemical from the brain that leaves you feeling calmer and satisfied. Just by this effect, you can get rid of the stress that starts to overtake your body. This is the same for teenagers.
Contrary to some fad diets, carbs aren’t necessarily bad for the body. The body needs carbs for energy. It’s not about low carb, it’s about the RIGHT carb. They don’t cause weight gain, especially if you get starchy carbs as you get from oats. The starchy carbs and fiber work together to keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer throughout the day. Your teenager won’t suffer the effects of hunger and a slump in the middle of the morning, leading to clock-watching as they count down the hours to lunch.
Stock Up on Oily Fish
Oily fish is a necessity for the teenage brain. This is a difficult stage in life with exams. There is so much information to remember, and the brain can want to shut down and not perform well. By getting plenty of oily fish, your teenager’s brain will be ready for anything. The cognitive functions are improved, there’s more mental awareness and clarity, and the memory is improved.
Why is oily fish good? It’s all in the Omega3 fatty acids. Yes, these are other healthy fats that your body needs. By getting plenty of fatty acids like this, the cells in the brain are supported. They’re less likely to become damaged or die without new cells taking their place. Free radicals can’t take over, causing problems with the connections and memory. Not only will your teenager overcome stress—because the right chemicals are released—but they see a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Your child doesn’t need a lot of oily fish. Just two portions a week is enough. Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are popular options.
Stock Up on the Dark Leafy Greens
Spinach, kale, and collards are all the dark leafy greens that you want to stock up on. Get rid of the iceberg lettuce and opt for the dark leafy vegetables instead. They are far better for the stress levels and overall health.
The dark leafy greens are full of folate. This nutrient is necessary to produce neurotransmitters that regular your mood. They help to ensure enough dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins are passed around your body. Not only will they help to get rid of the stress, but they have been linked to fighting against anxiety and depression.
Dark leafy greens are also extremely good for other nutrients. They have high amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, and more. When your body gets all the nutrients it needs, the organs work more effectively. The body passes more oxygenated blood around, leaving your teenager more alert and energized.
In fact, any fresh fruit and vegetables are good for removing stress. They’re all full of nutrients that the body desperately needs. And let’s not forget about the low calories, good carbs, and high levels of fiber.
Opt for More Blueberries in Your Shopping
As I’ve said, all types of fresh fruits and vegetables are good for your teenager. If you want a few specific options, you already have avocados and leafy green vegetables. However, you can also add some blueberries to the mix. They’re great on top of your porridge, so you don’t need to add refined sugar to make it taste good.
Look out for blueberries that are deep in color. They are full of antioxidants that will support the health. The antioxidants work with the immune system to fight off infections and protect the skin cells. They will reduce the risk of cancer, dementia, and other age-related issues. Meanwhile, they help to keep the stress levels down because the brain can work effectively and release the right types of hormones around the body.
Blueberries especially help with the release of dopamine. This is the chemical that affects your mood directly. Your teenager will feel happier, which instantly overcomes stress in the body.
All berries are good for antioxidants. Blueberries are just the best. Blackberries and raspberries are your next best options.
Allow a Little Bit of Dark Chocolate
Chocolate shouldn’t be on the banned foods lists. Nothing should be completely banned. This just leads to more stress, as your teenager struggles to enjoy the foods they eat.
However, chocolate is good for you in small amounts. You just need a couple of squares a day of dark chocolate. The more bitter the better when it comes to chocolate for all the health benefits.
Dark chocolate is full of anandamide, a chemical that helps to block out depression, pain, and stress. It blocks out all those pesky negative emotions naturally. Your teenager will feel good without having to feel any guilt. Just a couple of squares isn’t going to cause a huge sugar spike, especially when it comes to dark chocolate!
The chocolate also has a lot of antioxidants. If your child doesn’t want to eat chocolate (more like you don’t want them eating too much) opt for a chocolate drink instead. The heat of the drink and the dark chocolate work together to create a calmer feeling in the body.
Enjoy Some Popcorn
There’s no need to skip the popcorn the next time you watch a movie together. This is good for your teen to get rid of the stressful feelings. However, you want to skip the caramel and butter covered options. Get some popcorn kernels and pop your own. Plain air-popped popcorn is a great diet trick to feeling like you’re eating something naughty.
One of the benefits of popcorn is you can’t eat as much as you can with chips or sweets. The air will make you feel fuller, while not give you as many calories. You can rein in those mindless snacking days where your teen just seems to eat everything in the house without thinking!
Popcorn is also full of carbs to help boost the serotonin in the body. Meanwhile, there is fiber to help look after the digestive system. There are very few calories in air-popped popcorn, making it a healthier alternative. If you want to add some flavor, try a little black pepper, nutritional yeast, cayenne pepper, or cinnamon instead.
Stock Up on the Ginger Tea
Ginger is commonly used to help settle stomach upsets, but it is also a good stress-busting food. While you can add it to all types of meals, you also want to consider turning it into a tea. If you don’t want to make your own, you can buy ginger tea from most grocery stores and health stores because it is so popular.
Your teen will love a drink that is slightly different. They will also feel calmer, as the properties of ginger help to support the mood transmitters within the brain. The nerves are soothed, helping to keep stress to a minimum.
Of course, the heat of the liquid also helps. Hot tea has commonly been used to help relax and settle the mind. The muscles relax naturally, helping to relieve the tension that causes more stress to pass around the body.
Protect Your Teenager’s Health with the Right Foods
It’s time to stock up on all the foods that will help everyone in the family. Teenagers do experience stress. A number of hormones passing around the body cause imbalances in the body. Add in the exams and mean kids in their school, they can find it extremely difficult to enjoy their life.
By focusing on good stress-busting foods in the diet, you can help your teenager gain a new lease on life. Boost their positive moods and support their brain function, so they do better in exams and enjoy time with friends.
Looking for some teen-friendly ideas? Check out these 21 Stress-Busting Recipes for Teens chosen for teens, by teens!
Is your teen achieving their nutritional needs? We do nutrition assessments and make recommendations based on both the unique, individual needs of your teen as well as the needs of the family.
Book your free 15-minute Introductory Consultation with Christine Moran to discuss more! Call 905-836-5666 or book online at: