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6 Stress-busting foods to stock up on

Jessica Padykula is a freelance writer and editor in Toronto, Canada covering a wide range of  topics for several online lifestyle publications. She is a regular contributor for SheKnows, covering travel, style, relationships, health and...

6 Best foods to beat stress

Studies have shown that food and stress are linked. While some foods may cause angst, there are other foods that reduce stress, explains LIVESTRONG.COM nutrition advisor Alyse Levine MS, RD. She took time out of her busy schedule to talk to SheKnows.com about foods that reduce stress and the foods we need to avoid because they can actually increase stress.

Woman eating donut

Stress-inducing foods to ditch from your diet

Levine also suggests eliminating -- or at least minimizing -- the following foods to reduce stress in your daily life.

1Sugar causes ups and downs

If you eat a lot of sugar, you end up with a quick rise in blood sugar levels (which is short-lived) followed by a big crash (due to an over-production of insulin), which can leave you feeling sad and stressed. Levine suggests limiting your consumption of refined sugars and only consuming them in small portions when you do have them.

2Caffeine can stimulate stress

Caffeine increases stress levels by stimulating the central nervous system. Excess intake of caffeine often results in hyperactive moods and causes irritation and stress. Try switching your morning cup of joe with decaf green tea or another herbal blend.

3Alcohol upsets quality sleep

Research indicates that consuming excess alcohol can contribute to health problems like chronic stress, anxiety and depression. Drinking is a vicious cycle; the more you drink, the worse you feel when the buzz wears off. Alcohol can also lead to fragmented and poor-quality sleep.

4Preservatives can raise your blood pressure

Salt is a preservative and excess sodium intake should be avoided, Levine advises. Salt can raise your blood pressure, thereby increasing your risk of heart disease. Avoiding processed and packaged foods is an easy way to reduce your sodium intake – and lower your stress level.

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