Can good nutrition reduce stress?
Eating the right foods is known to assist in managing stress.
A nutritious diet provides us with the tools we need to ensure our immune system is fully charged and our moods are stabilised. Stress causes the release of cortisol and adrenaline into our blood stream, it increases our heart rate and blood pressure, and triggers an increase in blood sugar levels. All of these factors can have a long term detrimental effect on both our physical and mental wellbeing.
Eat Regular Meals
Our bodies need regular fuel to fend off disease and stress. It’s important not to skip meals and to eat healthy, nutritious food for breakfast, lunch and dinner and avoid unhealthy snacks in between.
Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
Stress is known to increase the presence of free radicals in our body. Free radicals cause damage to our cells, proteins and DNA. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals which are known to fight free radical damage.
Vitamin C is known to combat stress by reducing cortisol levels and it boosts the immune system. It’s present in many fresh foods, not just citrus fruit. For example, green and red peppers contain more vitamin C than an orange.
Fruit and vegetables can increase serotonin levels in the brain – the happy hormone – thus alleviating stress.
During times of stress we may need to increase our protein intake. Protein helps to slow down the release of sugar into our blood stream. Eat meat, fish, chicken, eggs, lentils and pulses and nuts and seeds.
Foods containing magnesium are perfect for stress relief and a great night’s sleep. Try adding foods such as leafy greens, salmon, nuts and seeds, bananas and avocado to your diet to get your daily magnesium requirement.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Finally, don’t forget to ensure you get your daily intake of Omega 3’s from oily fish or seeds and nuts. Omega 3 is known to help stop surges in cortisol and other stress hormones and has even been shown to alleviate depression.