Did you know that April is stress awareness month? We’re breaking down the correlation between the foods we eat and our ability to manage stress effectively. The reality is that everyone experiences stress at some point in time and how we deal with it makes all the difference.

Wanting something sweet after work like that left-over desert from last night’s dinner or ice cream from your favorite spot around the corner may be driven by a combination of physiological and psychological factors. In other words, it’s your body’s way of signaling that it needs more of something.

Managing stress with food is about consuming foods that can give your body the energy needed to cope with your day-to-day responsibilities that contribute to your stress.

Here is a list of foods that may help you manage stress and some guidance on when to add them to your diet:

Need more energy? Eat foods rich in protein.

Proteins are broken into amino acids during the digestion process. The tyrosine amino acid contributes to the increase of chemicals dopamine and epinephrine, which can give your body energy and keep you vigilant.

Foods like eggs, almonds, Greek yogurt, lentils and cottage cheese are all high in protein.

Need to calm down and relax a bit? Eat carbohydrates.

During digestion, carbohydrates create serotonin, a substance that causes a sense of relaxation and makes you calm.

Complex carbohydrates to help you reduce stress include whole grains, beans, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, and berries.

Want to give your memory a boost? Eat foods rich in choline.

As the control center of your body, your brain is in charge of keeping your heart beating, lungs breathing and allowing you to move, feel, and think.

Eating the following foods can help you keep your brain in peak working condition: Salmon, blueberries, turmeric, and pumpkin seeds.

With a healthy diet, your body can effectively manage stress and cope with the hectic pace of your life. So, when tension gets high and anxiety becomes prevalent in your daily life, adjust your diet to help improve your well-being.