4th April 2021

This month is Stress Awareness Month, an annual spotlight created by the Stress Management Society to “increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic” (Stress Management Society, n.d.). 

Stress can be triggered by all kinds of factors, including personal life events or global trauma. However, one of the leading causes of stress in the UK is work and work-related issues. According to national statistics 828,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2019/20 and 17.9 million working days were lost due to work-related stress for the same reasons in the same year (HSE, 2020). 

High stress levels can be managed and reduced in lots of different ways. At Peel we’re always interested in nutrition and whether certain foods boast stress-relieving properties. If so, how many of these can easily be consumed at work?

Here’s what we found… 

Matcha Powder 

If you’ve never seen Matcha Powder before it’s a vibrant green tea powder which can be added into lattes and smoothies as well as porridges and pancake mixes.  

What’s stress-relieving about it though is its very high content of L-theanine, which is a non-protein amino acid known to reduce stress, anxiety and insomnia.  

In a 2019 study looking at whether eating cookies containing matcha powder reduced activity of a stress marker, it was found that it significantly did as opposed to a placebo group who hadn’t consumed the matcha powder (Unno, Furushima, Hamamoto, et al. 2019). 

Kimchi 

Kimchi is a popular South-Korean side dish made from fermented foods such as cabbage and raddish which contain lots of probiotics, antioxidants and vitamins.  

There is research to suggest that eating fermented foods reduces anxiety, whilst eating probiotics can result in a healthy gut which in turn increases happiness levels. 

The Psychiatry Research journal published an extensive study in 2015 of 710 adults which found those who ate fermented foods more regularly experienced fewer symptoms of social anxiety (Hilimire, DeVylder and Forestell, 2015). Whilst the study did not prove cause and effect, it did discover a promising link. 

Acerola Cherry Powder 

Many people don’t know that cherries contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons. Sometimes up to 50 – 100% percent more! 

Vitamin C is an important component in our body’s response to stress and high contents of it in our body is known to elevate the mood and reduce levels of depression and anger.  

Because fresh cherries can perish quickly, it’s easier to buy cherry powder which can then be added to your food and drinks quite easily.  

Chamomile Tea 

Andddddd……….breathe….ahhh. That’s usually what we think of when we envisage you sipping on your chamomile tea.  

Made from medicinal herbs, chamomile tea is long rooted in ancient cultures such as the Greek, Roman and Egyptian civilizations where it was for medicinal reasons. 

Fast forward a few thousand years and many drink chamomile tea for its natural ability to reduce stress and enhance sleep. 

Blueberries 

Blueberries are often referred to as a superfood which boast of many health benefits. Did you know however that they can also improve your mood and safeguard against depression? 

Blueberries are rich in flavonoid antioxidants which are powerful anti-inflammatories as well as benefiting the immune system. Some studies have suggested that there is a link between consuming flavonoids and decreasing the risk of developing depression (Khalid, Barfoot, May, et al. 2017). 

Foods to try and avoid 

Anything with excess sugar, processed carbohydrates, alcohol or excess caffeine is best to avoid or have in moderation. They are likely to cause fluctuating blood sugar levels, disrupt sleep and increase your cortisol production.

How can Peel help? 

At Peel we offer Matcha Powder and Blueberries as booster ingredients which can be added to menu items such as smoothies and porridge. We also serve up chamomile tea which can be just what you need during a hard day’s work.  

Our menu can be found by downloading our app 

References 

Hilimire, M. R., DeVylder, J. E. and Forestell, C. A. (2015). Fermented foods, neuroticism, and social anxiety: an interaction model. Psychiatry Research, 228(2). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25998000/  

Khalid, S., Barfoot, K. L., May, G., et al. (2017). Effects of acute blueberry flavonoids on mood in children and young adults. Nutrients, 9(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5331589/  

Stress awareness month. (n.d.). Stress Management Societyhttps://www.stress.org.uk/national-stress-awareness-month-2019/  

Unno, K., Furushima, D., Hamamoto, S., et al. (2019). Stress-reducing effect of cookies containing matcha green tea: essential ratio among theanine, arginine, caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate. Heliyon, 5(5). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6512570/  

Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, 2020. (2020). Health and Safety Executivehttps://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/stress.pdf