5 Healthy Foods That Calm & De-Stress

Stress can cause you to grab for food—and it's likely you'll grab for the wrong things and overeat them as well. Stress, for many, spikes appetite, making it turn into a greedy and desperate monster.

Almost 40 percent of Americans report overeating or eating the wrong foods as a way of dealing with their anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association. And those foods they turn to—comfort foods—are usually unhealthy ones, like cake, cookies, ice cream, chips and mac, and cheese.

They're foods rich in fat and sugar, which send pleasure signals to the brain. How? By boosting levels of the hormone serotonin, which has a calming effect. But some foods can help with stress. Yes, you can nurture yourself with good, healthy foods that will comfort you and soothe your anxiety. A word about carbohydrates: Many people crave carbs when they're stressed. Some experts think that the craving is related to the decrease in serotonin, that feel-good hormone.

So, if you love carbs, (like me the rice girl) then be smart and choose "smart carbs," like nourishing whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables, which contain healthy things like fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals.

Here is a start with my top 5 calming and stress relief foods: