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4 Pressure Cooker Recipes to Fight Stress

Without a doubt, the type of food that you eat can affect how your body deals with stress. And some methods of preparing your meals can make your food more nutritious than others. Specifically, cooking your food using a pressure cooker has been found to not only help make your meals more nutritious and potent, but it saves time.

What is a Pressure Cooker?

Changing your diet with a pressure cookerA pressure cooker or instant pot is an airtight cooking device that cooks food by building up steam pressure inside. Hence, food tends to cook more quickly. Many families today turn to the instant pot to make life easier when preparing meals. Aside from reducing cooking time, it turns out that a pressure cooker can also cook food that is more nutritious as well. This is especially important when you are under stress.

Stress and Nutrition

When the body encounters stress, the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response system is activated to address it. The NEM is made up of six circuits composed of organs and systems that help the body initiate a fight or flight response against stress.

Among these circuits is the bioenergetics circuit. This is composed of the pancreas, liver, and thyroid. Together, these work to ensure that food consumed be converted into energy that the body can use. When there is stress, the bioenergetics circuit also works to deliver a continuous glucose supply to the brain so that it can function appropriately.

Typically, this circuit and all other NEM system circuits return to normal function after the stressful episode has passed. However, in the case of chronic stress, the bioenergetics circuit is forced to continue responding to stress until it becomes overworked.

And when this circuit suffers an imbalance, it can lead to a number of harmful symptoms. These include central obesity, sensitivity to foods, oversensitivity to supplements, intolerance to medication, hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields, severe constipation, paradoxical reactions, and adrenal crashes. At the same time, an imbalance in one circuit will also affect other circuits since they work independently and interdependently.

In fact, an overworked thyroid in the bioenergetics circuit will eventually affect the adrenal glands in the hormonal circuit. This is because the thyroid glands and adrenals are linked through the body’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.

At some point, the adrenals come under more pressure to produce more cortisol. And when the adrenal glands become overworked, they are no longer capable of producing enough stress hormones for the body’s needs. This, in turn, causes hormonal imbalances and triggers Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS).

When adrenal fatigue persists unaddressed, you begin to experience symptoms which make daily life difficult and uncomfortable. These include panic attacks, irritability, foggy thinking, depression, heart palpitations, unexplained hair loss, delayed food sensitivities, dry skin, low libido, low thyroid function, fibrocystic breast disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and more.

To be able to handle stress and recover from AFS, you need to pay close attention to the nutrients that you are feeding your body. When you are under stress, your body needs nutrients to make the hormones it is producing at a higher rate. Not having enough of the nutrients your body needs can make you more anxious, depressed, and far more susceptible to stress.

Because of this, you need to make sure you are getting enough of these nutrients to make your body healthier. And using an instant pot has been shown to preserve nutrients in food better so that each meal you eat can be more effective against stress.

Pressure Cooking: How It Helps You Fight Stress

How a Pressure cooker can help with stressWhen you are dealing with adrenal fatigue, it is particularly important to pay attention to how much nutrients you are able to get into your body. Some take supplements to make sure they are getting enough of all the essential nutrients. However, supplements can have side effects, and the healthiest option is usually to get the nutrients you need through food.

As food is cooked through, experts believe that a significant amount of nutrients are lost. When it comes to pressure cooking, however, there is evidence to support that this is not the case. In fact, a study in India found that food made in a pressure cooker retained beta-carotene and ascorbic acid better than drying, blanching, and cooking in an open pan. Similarly, a 2007 study found that pressure cooking broccoli results in 90 percent retention of vitamin C.

Aside from retaining a greater amount of essential nutrients, it was also found that cooking with an instant pot could help reduce the amount of harmful substances present in food. For instance, one study found that soaking and pressure cooking peas resulted in a 54 percent reduction in phytic acid content. This finding is significant since phytic acid is an antinutrient that can impair the body’s absorption of minerals such as calcium, zinc, and iron.

Using a pressure cooker to prepare your meals also results in foods that are more easily digestible by the body. In fact, another study in India found that protein digestibility in food is significantly improved after cooking using an instant pot. This is good for anyone undergoing adrenal recovery as the body is not forced to work harder just to process your food.

Four Nutritious and Delicious Pressure Cooker Recipes

The following dishes are excellent ways to enjoy the nutrition boost from pressure cooking.

If you are still choosing for a perfect pressure cooker for your home, you may want to consider getting one that is programmable. This way, you can prepare a greater variety of meals more easily.

Before you try to cook with your instant pot for the first time, however, it is highly recommended that you go over its manual first so that you know how to safely use it. Also, remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when operating the device.

That said, there are some instant pot recipes for adrenal recovery that you can try:

Breakfast Quinoa


  • 1 ½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons organic honey
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Almond milk
  • Fresh berries
  • Sliced almonds


  1. Pour quinoa, honey, water, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt into the instant pot.
  2. In the settings, select high pressure and set the cook time to one minute.
  3. Once the beep sounds off, turn off the pressure cooker. Wait 10 minutes before releasing the pressure and opening the lid.
  4. Fluff up the quinoa and serve with the almond milk, sliced almonds, and fresh berries.

Ethiopian Lentil and Spinach Soup


Cooking chicken and cashew rice in a Pressure cooker

  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon clove powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups brown lentils
  • 8 cups water
  • Spinach leaves
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Preheat the instant pot by activating the brown or sauté mode.
  2. Add onions and spices and saute until onions are brown.
  3. Add lentils and water and close the lid. Pressure cook the mixture for around 10 minutes.
  4. Once done, turn off the cooker and wait for the pressure to be released, around 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Open the instant pot and season the soup with salt and pepper. Mix in the spinach leaves to wilt them.
  6. Stir before serving with lemon juice.

Cashew Chicken and Rice


Pressure cooker cooked lentils and spinach

  • 1 medium boneless and skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked brown Jasmine rice, washed
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sesame oil
  • ½ teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chopped bell peppers, green and red
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2/3 cup roasted unsalted cashews
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Sesame seeds

Sauce Ingredients:

  • ¾ tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water


  1. Mix together all sauce ingredients, except cornstarch and water, and set aside.
  2. Activate Sauté mode in the instant pot. Heat the sesame oil and cook the chicken. Season it with salt and pepper. Cook while stirring lightly until the chicken is lightly browned.
  3. Add the ginger and garlic and cook until fragrant. Add in the carrots and bell peppers. Cook for 30 more seconds.
  4. Pour in half of the prepared sauce, uncooked rice, and water. Lock the cooker and pressure cook for around three minutes.
  5. Once it is done cooking, allow the instant pot to release its steam. This should take around 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid. Add the carrots and bell peppers.
  7. Whisk together cornstarch and three tablespoons water, and add to the remaining sauce. Stir into the rice and chicken. Put the cooker back on Sauté mode and wait for the sauce to thicken.
  8. Serve with cashews, green onions, and sesame seeds.

Creamy Coconut Yogurt


  • 1 quart organic coconut milk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons plain yogurt


  1. Place the coconut milk and maple syrup in the instant pot. Whisk them together well and use the yogurt setting in the cooker.
  2. Once the instant pot beeps, let the milk cool to between 100 to 110 degrees F. This should take around one hour.
  3. Once the milk reaches the proper temperature, transfer some milk into a small bowl. Whisk in the yogurt until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the instant pot and whisk everything together well. Use the yogurt setting and set your desired fermentation time. This should be at least eight hours.
  5. Transfer the yogurt to glass container once done.

As you can see, there are many healthy meals that you can make at home using a pressure cooker. These are meals that contain even more of the many essential nutrients you need to start feeling better. And, it is a faster way to cook. Nourish your body well, and in time, you can heal from the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

© Copyright 2019 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam's Key Question

Research has shown that foods which are prepared using a pressure cooker tend to retain nutrients better. At the same time, it also makes the food more easily digestible, helping the body avoid further stress, which is needed in adrenal recovery.

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