(CNN) – When times get stressful, many of us turn to traditional “comfort foods,” savory macaroni and cheese or maybe a big bowl of ice cream.
Research suggests that certain foods can help reduce stress but it’s not high-fat and high-sugar comfort foods.
When the stress of the holiday gets to be too much, don’t rely on traditional comfort foods to calm you down. Doctors say snacks like doughnuts, pizza or mac and cheese make us feel good in the short-term but can actually make stress worse down the road.
Instead try some superfoods. Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach contain folates and B12. Those nutrients are associated with chemicals in your brain that help regulate emotion and pleasure
Good carbs, like oats, help your brain regulate serotonin which stabilizes your mood. As an added bonus complex carbs won’t spike your blood sugar, which might already be high under stress.
To appease your sweet tooth pick fruits rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C like blueberries and strawberries. One study found Vitamin C can reduce blood sugar and stress hormone levels.