Published: 10/24/2012 - Updated: 05/27/2016
Stress is a natural part of everyday life and your body is programmed to deal with this through the flight or fight response, which is controlled by hormones. However, chronic stress or long term means that your body does not have time to recover, and can put your health at risk. Dietary changes can help you cope better with stress.
Modern Stress is pervasive and constant threat tends to be psychological rather than physical ones. Work-related stress is the leading cause of stress for adults. Other possible causes include financial stress, increased crime and violence in society, social isolation, the erosion of family and religious values, social pressure and caring for an elderly parent or sick. Whatever the reason, it certainly has had a great impact on our lives recently. In a world where you can’t afford to lose time, stress is present every day.
Seventy-five percent of doctor visits are stress-related conditions. Common conditions associated with stress include sleep disturbances (insomnia), fatigue, headaches and hypertension or high blood pressure. Stress can be a contributing factor in pain, diabetes, heart attacks, neck and back and punches.
Beware of stress with your diet
Eat foods rich in nutrients such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. These foods are rich in nutrients and help reduce the cravings that accompany stress.
Also are slower to digest, which helps to stabilize the blood glucose levels. When the body is under chronic stress cortisol levels remain high, which may lead to insulin resistance. This condition prevents your body metabolize carbohydrates properly and increases blood glucose levels.
Furthermore, there is evidence that eicosapentaenoic acid found in omega-3 essential fatty acids can help to reduce cortisol levels. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and tuna and fish oil are rich sources of these healthy fats.
Foods to Avoid
Reduce consumption of foods and beverages containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, cola drinks and chocolate. Instead of helping to deal with stress, these foods are stimulants and can make you feel more irritable and restless. They also make it more difficult for you to sleep, and your body needs sleep to recover from stress.
Another beverage that we should limit is alcohol. Any relaxation offered by alcohol is of short duration and also disrupts sleep. Women should not exceed one drink per day and men should not exceed two drinks per day, but the recommendation is to avoid it.
Herbs and Supplements
Consider a vitamin and mineral supplement to replace nutrients depleted by stress, particularly the B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Herbal supplements to aid digestion include licorice root, aloe vera, lemongrass, fennel, among others.
Various herbs and supplements may help relieve stress, including American ginseng, Asian ginseng, Siberian ginseng, lemon balm and valerian. However, natural products can cause adverse reactions or interact with medications. So it is advisable to consult a naturopath or your doctor before taking them.