Stress is a part of life. And that’s a good thing, because stress is essential for us to survive and increases our performance. The trouble is that in acute stress situations, for example before an important meeting with the boss, we reach for high-fat and high-carbohydrate snacks as if by remote control. The obligatory chocolate bar in the desk drawer is often ready to hand.

Stress increases the energy requirement

The irrepressible craving for calorie-rich food is completely normal during stress, because your body needs more energy in this (exceptional) situation. So eating something now is exactly the right thing to do. After all, if the increased energy demand is not met, you quickly feel exhausted and overwhelmed. But a candy bar is not the best solution, because the sugar makes your blood sugar level go on a roller coaster ride. But which foods provide strong nerves in stressful situations?

Vitamins and minerals for strong nerves

The regular intake of certain nutrients is important to increase mental performance and make us resistant(er) to stress. In addition to high-quality proteins, long-chain carbohydrates and water, this also includes numerous vitamins, such as vitamin B1, B2, B6 and B12, and minerals (magnesium, potassium and Co.).

Nerve food: the best anti-stress foods

Fortunately, the above-mentioned nutrients and vitamins are contained in many foods. So you don’t have to spend money on supplements, just add variety to your diet plan.

1. Oatmeal

There is a reason why oatmeal is an ideal breakfast: The flakes contain a lot of vitamin B1 and B3, which are good for the nerves, as well as the amino acid tryptophan, which is needed for the production of the happiness hormone serotonin. 

The complex carbohydrates and fiber in oatmeal also protect you from cravings and keep you full until lunchtime.

2. Nuts, kernels and Co.

Nuts are the brainfood snack par excellence – and there are several reasons for this. Nuts contain the anti-stress mineral magnesium.

It inhibits the transmission of excitation of the nerves that cause stress and thus calms the nervous system. The B vitamins contained in nuts (especially vitamin B1) also have a positive influence on nervous resilience and mood. In addition, they contain plenty of potassium and iron, which supports memory performance. 

Not to forget: Nuts are an excellent source of vitamin E. Vitamin E prevents clogging of blood vessels in the brain and acts as an antioxidant to scavenge free radicals. 

By the way: seeds (pumpkin seeds) and seeds (flax seeds) also provide the above mentioned micronutrients.

3. Spinach

Spinach has a high magnesium content. Magnesium has a positive effect on the excitation processes of the nerves and in this way ensures high resilience.

The green vegetable also provides numerous B vitamins, as well as calcium, potassium, iron and vitamin C. Vitamin C has an antioxidant effect and thus protects nerves and vessels from damage. In case of deficiency, it can lead to increased irritability and lack of drive.

Other green vegetables, such as kale, broccoli and chard, have the same beneficial properties and should therefore also be regularly included in your diet.

4. Bananas

Bananas are a miracle weapon against stress. The reason: they contain numerous nutrients that are good for the nerves, such as vitamin B6, magnesium and potassium.

The amino acid tryptophan is also found under the yellow skin. Together with vitamin B6, serotonin is formed from it in the body. The happiness hormone serotonin has a mood-lifting effect and helps against stress in everyday life.

5. Dark chocolate

Cocoa = chocolate? Well, almost. Because only dark chocolate, i.e. chocolate with a high cocoa content, helps with stress.

The tryptophan contained in cocoa stimulates the formation of serotonin, which has a mood-lifting effect. In addition, cocoa contains flavonoids, which are natural antioxidants that help to reduce stress hormones and lower blood pressure. The darker the chocolate, the more flavonoids it contains.

6. Salmon

The brain and nervous system are made up of about half fat. It’s no wonder, then, that an intake of high-fat foods makes for strong nerves.

Fish varieties such as salmon and tuna contain many omega-3 fatty acids. These dampen the hormone adrenaline, which is released during stress, and thus have a calming effect. Vitamin B2, which is found mainly in salmon, can also slow down the activity of stress hormones.

Fish also provides a lot of protein. Protein is made up of various amino acids and these act as important messengers (neurotransmitters) in your nervous system, among other things. 

7. Legumes

Legumes, such as lentils, chickpeas or peas, not only contain large amounts of potassium, but also have a high content of magnesium, iron and zinc.

Potassium, like magnesium, is an important mineral for the nerves, because it also inhibits the transmission of excitation of the nerves that cause stress.

Legumes can also score points with many B vitamins and high-quality proteins.

8. Meat

Meat is especially an excellent source of iron, magnesium and B vitamins.

Beef, for example, contains a lot of vitamin B6, which strengthens the nerves and makes them more resistant to stress. A deficiency of vitamin B6 often triggers states of exhaustion. 

Pork can also score points, especially with a lot of vitamin B 3 (niacin) and vitamin B12.