Liver-Healthy Foods to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Last updated: February 2022
In times of difficult trials and challenges, those affected by hepatitis C and liver disease may be more vulnerable due to compromised immune systems. What we eat can help reduce stress and anxiety, while also giving our immune system a boost.
Food and stress
The Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences states, “A nutritious, well-balanced diet has powerful stress-reducing benefits that improve brain functioning, shore up immune function, lower blood pressure, improve the circulation and reduce toxins from the body.”1
Certain foods and nutrients can help reduce elevated hormone levels, such as complex carbohydrates and proteins, along with foods rich amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B, magnesium, and selenium.
Hormones and stress
When the body is under stress, hormones are released such as cortisol and adrenalin. With an increase in stress hormones, we may feel the need to relieve stress by emotional eating (when we’re not hungry or overeating beyond feeling full). The danger of stress eating or emotional eating is we’re relying on food to make us “feel better and relieve stress,” in turn contributes harmful effects.
Stress eating leads to weight gain and added fat in the liver, which increases the risk of liver damage, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Some people use alcohol and drugs in the same way, for relief or comfort, which in turn creates more stress on our bodies and our especially our liver.
Harvard Medical School states, "persistent epinephrine surges can damage blood vessels and arteries, increasing blood pressure and raising the risk of heart attacks or strokes".2
Foods that help reduce stress and anxiety
Some foods that may help include...3
- Dark Chocolate
- Herbal Teas & Matcha Tea
- Fatty Fish; Salmon, Mackerel, Tuna, Halibut, Herring, Lake trout, Sardines
- Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds
- Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios
- Leafy Greens: Kale, Turnip Greens
- Whole Grains & Oats
- Calcium-rich foods like Dairy Milk, and Nut Milk
- Greek Yogurt with live cultures contains probiotics
- Fiber-rich foods; Broccoli, dark leafy greens
Avoid foods that contribute to stress and weight gain, such as processed foods, refined sugar, white flour, alcohol, high-sodium/salt foods, and fried foods.
What we eat and drink as powerful effects on the body. A proactive step in handling stress in a healthy way is by being eating nutrient-rich foods and exercising. Be good to yourself, eat well, and exercise to reduce stress and anxiety. You’re worth it!