Stress Nutrition for Dealing With Stress
The right stress nutrition builds your defenses for dealing with stress. Take control of stress today with healthy eating habits that are consistent with the food pyramid and ensure you have adequate vitamins for stress.
It’s not unusual for me to polish off a bar of chocolate or demolish a cream bun when I feel that my life is falling apart.
In fact, there appears to be a strong link between emotion and the food that we eat.
Unfortunately the food that we can often turn to in times of stress can perpetuate the cycle of stress.
What you eat influences your body’s biochemistry and mood. In fact all the cells of the body are influenced by what you eat.
Some foods increase anxiety and stress while it is well known that others promote a calmer, more relaxed mood. As Hippocrates stated two thousand years ago
"Let medicines be your food and food your medicine."
Why the right stress nutrition is important?
Turn on the news or read the headlines of the paper and it is not difficult to see that stress is a part of life.
Life can be challenging. Each day we are faced with daily stressors that activate the stress response.
This can deplete your body of necessary vitamins and minerals with are used in the preparation of the fight or flight response.
Health eating habits promote your abilities to cope with stress – giving your body sufficient vitamins, nutrients and energy for dealing with stress.
Before we get into good stress nutrition it is important to discuss what a balanced diet is, and the importance of a balanced diet for your health.
Why balanced diet is important for stress nutrition?
A balanced diet is one that contains a variety of foods that give you nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals, vitamins and water.
Experts agree that a balanced diet improves your stress nutrition and increases the body’s ability to cope with stress.
But typically we eat too many fats and proteins and not enough complex carbohydrates.
To ensure that you get a balanced diet it is important that you eat foods that are consistent with this food pyramid.
Good stress nutrition will not rid your body of stress but it will help your body to cope better with stress.
Here we highlight some simple steps to improve stress nutrition today.
Stress nutrition for dealing with stress
Often one the biggest nutrition mistakes we can make is not having a healthy breakfast.
Have you ever skipped breakfast and felt tired and irritable?
Do you snack before lunch time?
I have often rationalized that I don't have time for breakfast or I am not hungry - as I race out the door with coffee in hand.
But skipping breakfast is likely to result in reaching for high calorie snacks before lunch time, or overeating at lunch time.
Did you really need to eat that Burrito or snack on the chips?
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Your body needs to refuel and breakfast gets the metabolism moving and converts the fuel in food to energy that keeps you going throughout the day.
Without this energy it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain blood sugar levels and this can lead to difficulty in concentrating and an increase in irritability and the perception of stress.
It is also a good idea to space your meals evenly throughout so that you do not disrupt the body's biorhythms too much.
I love my morning coffee - but sometimes too much coffee can be a problem for your stress levels.
Coffee contains caffeine with is a psuedostressor that mimics the sympathetic nervous system and activates the stress response.
While caffeine can increase your alertness and muscle tension, too much caffeine can have similar effects to chronic stress.
What can you do today to reduce your caffeine levels?
Rather than grabbing your latte or cappuccino, opt instead for a caffeine-free drink or better still, hot water.
I have found that replacing one coffee a day with caffeine-free green tea (which is packed full of anti-oxidants) was a good start to reduce my coffee consumption.
We provide more information on what to eat and what not to eat to reduce your stress levels.
Vitamins are generally classified as fat soluble (Vitamins A, D, E and K) or water soluble (B-complex and C).
When you are stressed your body tends to deplete the water soluble vitamins.
This means that chronic stress can deplete B complex vitamins and Vitamin C - through the production of cortisol.
Also, stress can impede calcium absorption - a contributing factor to osteoporosis.
Eating more cereals and citrus fruits can replenish some vitamins depleted by stress.
I talk more about which vitamins are influenced by stress and what you can do about it in vitamins for stress.
Since there is a connection between what you eat and your feelings of stress, it is also important to recognize the role of herbs for stress relief.
Many people benefit from using herbs for mild states of anxiety. Here are some of the anti anxiety herbs that are consumed to reduce feelings of anxiousness.
Other strategies for dealing with stress
You can't expect your car to run on empty and neither can you expect your body to deal with stress as effectively without the right nutrition. Stress nutrition is a holistic and important method for dealing with stress. Here are a number of other ways for dealing with stress.
Did you know that one of the most effective stress management techniques is right under our noses. Yep...breathing exercises can help to counter the effects of stress. These breathing exercises use diaphragmatic breathing techniques to increase the lungs capacity to deliver oxygen - promoting a calm and relaxed effect.
Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. All that unwanted tension and accumulated stress hormones are waiting to be used - and exercise can be the solution. Exercise not increases your power for dealing with stress but has a number of other physical benefits such as reduced obesity, reduced incidence of heart disease and increased lifespan. This article describes the different ways that exercise reduces stress.
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine" and now scientific evidence is confirming what we have felt for a long time. Laughter and humor provide a buffer for dealing with stress. Laughter is contagious and can help to lighten your load and look at the world from a different perspective. See how laughter therapy can help with stress management.
Mindful meditation can be an effective way to cope with stressors. By cultivating a deeper awareness of the present you worry less about the future and dwell less on the past. Bring your focus to the "here and now" with mindful breathing meditation.
Self Hypnosis: Replace Your "I can't" With a Resounding "I can"
Exercise and Stress: Tips on Exercise for Stress Relief
Meditation Techniques: Meditation Techniques to Reduce Stress
Stress and Health: How Stress Impacts on Health
What foods reduce stress
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