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Diet for Stress Relief


Many Hongkongers face stress-related health issues. Sickness in the digestive system and insomnia are the most common problems of them. Absorbing some sorts of nutrition in your diet may help.


Say No to added sugar

The intake of added sugar in food makes blood sugar level fluctuates, which in turn destabilizes one’s emotion. Sugar-rich foods such as certain types of breakfast cereals, cakes and biscuits should be avoided.


“Low-sugar” foods and drinks, defined as containing 5g or less of sugar per 100g, are recommendable.


High-fiber crops are preferable to refined grains. You may consider eating brown rice, red rice or oat meal instead of plain rice. Pasta made of quinoa and rice vermicelli made of brown rice also ideal choices. These foods help prevent fluctuations in the blood sugar level of your body and are good for maintaining a stable mood.


Vitamin B

Vitamin B enhances the release of energy in food. It helps maintain a healthy nervous system, relief stress, improve the quality of sleep and above all, makes you more energetic. Whole-grain wheat, oat meals, potatoes, quinoa and dry beans are all rich in Vitamin B.



Some people suffer from insomnia despite not often being under stress. A solution is to stimulate the serotonin production in the brain. Meals that combine foods containing tryptophan and carbohydrates enhance the release of insulin, which helps tryptophan enter the brain and stimulate the generation of more serotonin. Such diets are good for stress relief. Turkey meat, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and millets are some foods rich in tryptophan.


Omega-3 fatty acid

Blood pressure elevates and blood vessels become tense when you are under stress. Omega-3 fatty acid helps relax blood vessels. Flaxseed and chia seeds are two plant sources of the acid which you may consider consuming one tablespoon per day. Deep-sea fish such as salmon, tuna and sardine are rich in animal Omega-3 fatty acid. But in view of increasing marine pollution, you should pay attention to the place of origin of the fish before buying.



Here we would like to present to you a recipe of a stress-relieving meal:


High-Fiber Quinoa Salad (one serving)



20g of quinoa

20g of heart-shaped beans

100g of lettuce

50g of beetroot


Salad Sauce

10g of pine nuts

3 teaspoons of olive oil

5g of chopped red onion

5g of Balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons of honey



1. Simmer quinoa for 20 minutes. Water level should be just above the quinoa.

2. Boil heart-shaped beans until fully cooked.

3. Wash lettuce.

4. Boil beetroot until fully cooked. Then peel and dice.

5. Chop red onion.

6. Mix olive oil, pine nuts, Balsamic vinegar in a mixer. Add chopped red onion and honey at the end.

7. Pour the completed sauce onto the salad. Ready to serve. 



Ms. Fion Lin, Registered Dietitian