How to Combat Stress with Good Nutrition
Eating junk food can put a serious stress on your physical health. Eating a healthy diet can help to relieve these stresses. At the same time, eating foods that are good for you can also help to combat psychological stress. If you are feeling stressed, either physically or mentally, set aside the chips and head to the store for some healthy foods instead.
Combatting Physical Stress with Diet Change
Avoid processed foods when possible.When food is processed, important nutrients get stripped away. When your diet consists mainly of processed foods, you may find that you have a nutrient imbalance because your body is not getting its daily requirement of vitamins and minerals. When you do not get the nutrients you need, your body counteracts this imbalance by getting your nutrient supply from different parts of your body, which causes your body stress.
- There are many types of processed food, but some common processed foods include refined flour, white sugar, and trans and saturated fats.
Eat natural or whole foods.Natural or whole foods refer to foods that have been processed as little as possible and are free from additives and other artificial substances. These foods are generally packed with natural proteins, complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that your body needs to function efficiently and remain stress-free.
- While there are many whole foods out there, some of the most common whole foods include fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.
Limit your soda and alcohol consumption.Soda is laden with caffeine, refined sugar, and, often, high fructose corn syrup. These ingredients, when taken in excess, can do some harm to your body, and can especially put stress on your kidneys.
- Because of this, try to keep the amount of soda you drink to a minimum, and consider cutting it out of your diet entirely.
Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.Drinking a small amount of alcohol may help prevent heart disease and stroke, but excessive drinking can be harmful and stressful for your body. The amount you limit yourself to depends on your gender and age; women of all ages and men older than 65 should stick to one drink a day, while men 65 and younger should limit themselves to two drinks a day.
- One drink refers to 12 fluid ounces (350 ml) of beer, five fluid ounces of wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces (44.4 ml) of distilled spirits.
Eat a balanced diet when you can.A balanced diet refers to one that includes all of the major and minor nutrients your body needs to remain healthy and stress-free. A balanced diet includes carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals.
- It is advisable to consult a dietitian with your particular individual requirement for these nutrients because they differ depending on your weight, height, physical activity, sex and other factors. But, generally, 60 % of your total energy requirement should come from carbohydrates, 20% from proteins and another 20% from fats.
Try to keep your diet varied.Eating in variety means making sure to consume nutrients from different kinds of sources. Variety ensures that the body is getting all the nutrients it needs. Having a balanced and varied diet supplies your body with sufficient nutrients that help to prevent physical stresses.
- For example, let’s look at your protein for the day. If you had an egg for breakfast, try having fish for lunch and another protein, like a chicken breast, for dinner.
Drink plenty of water.Staying hydrated helps your body with processes like digestion, transporting nutrients, temperature regulation, and removing waste. When you become dehydrated, these processes can slow down and cause your body stress.
- The amount of water you drink each day depends on the amount of exercise you do, and what sort of temperatures you are exposed to. As a general rule, adult women should try to drink roughly 2.2 liters (0.6 US gal) of water a day, while adult men should drink around 3 liters (0.8 US gal).
Relieving Psychological Stress through Good Nutrition
Eat more protein.Your body generally needs more protein when you are psychologically stressed. Stress can cause the death of cells and tissues, so your body needs an increased amount of protein to repair this damage. In addition to this, tryptophan, another protein, is needed to make serotonin, which is a chemical your body releases that makes you feel happy.
- Protein-rich foods include poultry, fish, meats like beef and pork, nuts, eggs, beans, peas, and soy products like tofu.
- The amount of protein you should eat is roughly 0.8 to 1.0 gram (0.03 to 0.04 oz) per kilogram of healthy body weight per day.
Consume complex carbohydrates.Serotonin is a chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter and is a hormone that can help you to feel relaxed. Carbohydrates prompt your brain to produce serotonin. There are two types of carbohydrates—the simple and the complex. Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and contain refined sugars and few vitamins and minerals. Complex carbs and help you to feel full for longer, which means you will feel less inclined to snack (which many people do when they are stressed).
- Sources of complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and pasta, beans and legumes, and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes.
Up your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.Stress may weaken the immune system and increases the body’s antioxidant requirement. The commonly known antioxidants are Vitamin C, E and beta carotene. These antioxidants fight free radicals that can form in your body when you are stressed.
- Good sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe and strawberries.
- Vitamin E on the other hand is found mainly in germ oils of wheat, corn, cottonseed and soybean and fish oils, nuts and apricots.
- Beta carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A, is present in milk, butter, egg yolk, liver, spinach, grains and yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.
Limit your caffeine intake.Caffeine has a half life of four to six hours which means that it will take its full effect after six hours have passed. Because of this, it is important to avoid drinking caffeine after 2 PM, or else you could have a hard time falling asleep, which in turn could make you more stressed the next day. Caffeine can also take an effect on the following hormones, which in turn can make you feel stressed:
- Adenosine: Caffeine can inhibit your body’s absorption of adenosine, which calms the body. While this may make you feel alert in the short run, it can cause problems with your sleep cycle later.
- Adrenaline: Caffeine pumps adrenaline into your system, giving you a temporary boost, but making you fatigued and depressed later. If you take more caffeine to counteract these effects, you end up spending the day in an agitated state, and might find yourself jumpy and edgy by the time night comes around.
- Cortisol: Caffeine can increase the body’s levels of cortisol. Cortisol is the “stress hormone”, which, as the name suggests, can make you feel very stressed.
- Dopamine: Caffeine increases dopamine levels in your system, acting in a way similar to amphetamines, which can make you feel good for a short period of time. However, after the caffeine wears off, you may feel “low”.
Following General Healthy Eating Habits to Reduce Stress
Try to avoid skipping meals.Skipping meals can actually make stress-related symptoms worse. Common stress symptoms that can increase when you skip meals include headaches and stomach aches. Instead of skipping meals, try to fit in at least three meals each day, or space out your meals and eat four to five smaller meals throughout the day.
- Skipping meals may also force you to opt for quick-energy sources like candies and other sweets instead of healthy meals. These quick-energy sources may spike your energy levels for awhile, but will ultimately cause you to crash and feel hungry and fatigued.
Carry a healthy snack with you whenever possible.Stressed people tend to absently munch, so it is sensible to always carry a healthy snack with you to avoid buying whatever is available (which is generally junk food). Ideas for healthy snacks include:
- Fruits that can easily be eaten and handled like bananas, oranges and apples.
- Whole grain cookies, sunflower and other seeds.
- Carrot and celery sticks.
Avoid buying unhealthy foods.One of the most effective ways to avoid unhealthy foods is to simply stop buying them. If you don’t have cookies in the house, you will be less inclined to absently munch on them.
- Instead, fill your house with healthy snacks. However, be careful not to excessively snack on these foods. Just because they are healthy does not mean you should overeat.
Video: Reduce Stress with Healthy Diet
Sushi To Share Recipe
How to Smile when You Think You Have Bad Teeth
How To Make Peace With Your Body, Your Stress, And Even Your Mother
MORE: 7 Chic Circle Bags To Round Out Your Look This Fall
5 Ways to Dry Gourds
Heavy Pot Use in Teen Years Linked to Shortened Life
Herve Leger by Max Azria FallWinter 2019RTW – NYFW
The Best Workout Moves to Build Strong Knees
The First Photo of Meryl Streep in Big Little Lies Season 2 Is Here
How to Fall in Love Again
Nadia Sawalha makes surprising divorce revelation following bickering’ with husband Mark
Passion Fruit Nutrition Facts
Turns Out There’s A Reason Why We Get Far More Drunk Than Intended
How to Train a Puppy to Not Pee when Greeted