New Delhi: Stress is a real killer in our life now and is affecting more and more of us each year. When work deadlines begin piling up and the office calendar is booked, there is hardly any time for healthy eating.

But when it comes to combating stress levels, few of us just don't need a stress ball or a few deep breaths to stop us feeling those stress triggers. When it comes to combating stress levels, what you eat might actually have an effect on your tension. What needs to be noted is that calming foods do not mean comfort foods. Some food items truly soothe and calm you while others may help stabilize blood sugar level, take care of your emotional responses like mental stress, anxieties etc.

Dietitian Deepti G Dua, Mutation Diet Clinic Gurugram suggests some food items that relieve/reduce stress:-

1. Milk

Fortified milk is an excellent source of vitamin D, a nutrient that might boost happiness. There is an association between reduced levels of vitamin D and an increased risk of panic and depression among men and women. So, milk consumption can help reduce depression and anxieties.

2. Green leafy vegetables

It's tempting to go for some junk food when stressed, but go green at lunch instead. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, helping you keep calm.

3. Oat Meal

A complex carbohydrate, oatmeal causes the brain to produce serotonin, a feel-good chemical. It also has antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that people who eat oatmeal for breakfast stay sharper throughout the morning and active for the whole day.

4. Green tea

While it does contain caffeine, green tea also has an amino acid called theanine. In addition to protection against some types of cancer, this slimming food is a great brain booster as well, thereby enhancing mental performance. Drinking two cups each day is a health secret.

5. Asparagus

High in folate, it is essential in keeping you cool.

6. Avocados

These creamy fruits stress-proof the body. Avocados are rich in glutathione, a substance that specifically blocks intestinal absorption of certain fats that cause oxidative damage. Also, they contain lutein, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and more folate than any other fruit. A single serving (about one-quarter of an avocado) has plenty of B vitamins, too.

7. Blueberries

They have some of the highest levels of an antioxidant and have also been linked to all kinds of positive health outcomes, including sharper cognition. All types of berries, including strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries, are rich in vitamin C, which are quite helpful in combating stress.

8. Cashewnut

Cashewnuts are an especially good source of zinc. Low levels of zinc have been linked to both anxiety and depression. Since our bodies have no way of storing zinc, it's important to get some every day.

9. Chocolate

Besides the healthier options, chocolate also helps in calming down. Chocolate has even been referred to as "the new anti-anxiety drug". A recent study reports that both women and men eat more chocolate as depressive symptoms increase. Dark chocolate, in particular, if taken in moderation, does actually make you feel better.