But stress isn't meant to stick around. Elevated levels of stress hormones like cortisol can lead to various health problems, such as high blood pressure, poor immune health and increased inflammation.
Fortunately, people can naturally relieve stress by increasing their intake of certain vitamins and adaptogens -- edible herbs that help the body adapt to stress.
Listed below are the top vitamins and adaptogens for stress relief:
Ashwagandha has been an integral part of Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha can help reduce stress and restore the body to a balanced and functioning state.
There are many studies that support ashwagandha's stress-relieving benefits. One such study, published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, showed that ashwagandha supplementation helped decrease stress levels in participants with chronic stress by 44 percent.
Meanwhile, a randomized controlled trial found that supplementing with ashwagandha lowered the levels of the stress hormone cortisol by up to 30 percent.
Magnesium is a mineral that is critical for healthy muscle and nerve function. Research shows that the mineral is also crucial for sleep. Sleep and stress affect each other. People who lack sleep have high levels of stress, while people who are often under a great deal of stress tend to have sleep problems like insomnia.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises getting 310–420 milligrams (mg) of magnesium from healthy sources every day. Top food sources of magnesium include chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, avocado, carrot, potato, salmon and yogurt.
The cannabis plant contains a chemical compound called cannabidiol (CBD), which is best known for relieving stress. Multiple studies have shown that CBD's beneficial effects against stress are due to its interactions with receptors that regulate stress hormones. When consumed, CBD helps balance the levels of stress hormones.
CBD is available in several forms, such as tinctures, capsules and edibles. Some people may take it to help lower their stress levels fast, while others may take it regularly to manage chronic stress.
Rhodiola, another powerful adaptogen, is a plant endemic to the arctic regions of Asia and Europe. Rhodiola is typically used to reduce stress and improve mood. Rhodiola's beneficial effects can be attributed to its active compounds.
In a 2009 study, rhodiola was shown to decrease stress, increase alertness and fight fatigue in doctors working night shifts. Meanwhile, a 2012 study showed that stressed participants who supplemented with rhodiola started showing improvements in their stress levels within three days and continued to do so for the next four weeks.
Valerian is a perennial plant endemic to Europe. It is commonly used to help reduce nervousness, relieve anxiety and treat sleep disturbances. Valerian root contains the compounds responsible for the herb's stress-relieving effects.
Valerian root supplement is available in capsule form. But when dried, the root can also be used to make tea. (Related: The “root” of your problems: How valerian root can help with anxiety and sleep.)
Low energy levels or fatigue can lead to high stress levels. B vitamins help keep energy levels high and relieve fatigue, so eating more foods rich in B vitamins or taking vitamin B supplements may help keep stress at bay.
The best food sources for B vitamins are milk, cheese, eggs, fish, shellfish, animal organs like liver and kidneys, leafy green vegetables, yogurt and sunflower seeds. (Related: Try these brain-boosting foods rich in vitamin B12.)
Certain vitamins and adaptogenic herbs help relieve stress. For better stress management, eat more foods that contain stress-busting vitamins and incorporate adaptogenic herbs or supplements into a well-balanced diet.
Go to Remedies.news to learn more about safe, natural and effective remedies for stress.