Stress is something we all experience. In fact, government statistics reveal that it cost the UK around 11.7 million working days in 2015/16. Put it this way - if you're feeling stressed, you're not alone.
So, how can you deal with the stress in your life? It turns out that one way to manage your mental health is through cooking.
Unlike other household tasks, cooking has a built-in, immediate reward system in the form of eating, which will lift your mood. Cooking also requires concentration, which means your mind will move away from other worries to focus on the task at hand.
Then there's the nutritional benefit. When you're stressed, the lure of a takeaway can seem like a great short term solution. Actually, it's just going to make things worse in the long run.
If you cook your own food, you know exactly what you're putting in your body. As you're about to discover, food can be one of the best ways to relieve stress. You just need to use it properly.
Prepare for a peach with a difference! This smoothie will stop stress in its tracks by combining fresh, sweet flavours in one great-tasting glass. You might not have considered pairing peach with courgette before, but trust us - it works!Ingredients
We know that fruit and vegetables are great for your body, but they can also do wonders for your mind. This smoothie will help you handle stress and collect your thoughts in preparation for any challenge the day can throw at you.
The peaches are the stress-busting star of this smoothie, with good reason. Like many orange-coloured fruits and vegetables, they contain beta-carotene. Coupled with plenty of phytonutrients, they provide a natural stress-relieving remedy.
These nutrients are also known to benefit both long- and short-term memory. This is useful if you're stressed, as it can be a struggle to keep track of your thoughts.
Spinach contains an amino acid called tryptophan that improves your mood and encourages better sleep, which is a blessing for anyone suffering from insomnia as a result of their worries. Getting enough rest is one of the best ways to tackle stress.
As anyone who has experienced stress will know, it can make you feel very tense. Spinach is high in magnesium, which relaxes your nerves and muscles.
Even the smell of this smoothie will help you beat stress. Citrus fruits such as lemon have been shown to energise your mind and banish negative thoughts.
There's nothing quite like a good steak, and this recipe allows you to enjoy it in a healthy, delicious way. The chimichurri brings fiery South American flair to your dish, while satisfying sweet potato wedges are the perfect accompaniment.Ingredients
Who knew that a simple steak and sauce could be so good for your mood? This is comfort food in the best possible way, as eating this dish will relieve your stress and help you resist the urge to reach for an unhealthy snack.
Your stress-busting steak contains high levels of zinc, iron and vitamin B, all of which help to stabilise your mood. If worries about your weight are causing stress, choose a leaner cut of meat to reduce the saturated fat content.
Sweet potato is what's known as a low-GI carbohydrate. This means that it causes less of a spike in your insulin levels. Foods that do cause a spike also inevitably cause a crash, which can have a negative impact on your mood. Low-GI carbs make it easier to maintain a balance.
The spicy chimichurri is also great for keeping your spirits up. Chilli contains capsaicin, which can help relieve stress and anxiety by encouraging your brain to release endorphins, the hormones responsible for blocking pain signals and increasing happiness.
Whether you're looking to lose weight, detox or find the healthiest way to use delicious seasonal fruit and vegetables, we've got the answers! Give one of our amazing recipes a try - they're great for your taste buds and for your body.
If you're looking for more ways to beat stress and manage your mental health, our smart network of doctors can provide you with plenty of practical advice.See more healthy recipesFind out more about stress