How food can affect your stress levels
Stress and nutrition have always been linked – it’s a fact. Someone with a healthy and balanced diet is likely to be far less stressed than someone with a poor diet.
Stress is now known as a major health disorder, affecting millions of people within the UK. This page will look at:
How food can help your stress levels
How caffeine affects a person that is stressed
Food, stress and relief
Healthy, nutritious food and breathing exercises are the simplest methods for relieving stress. These methods are not only cost effective but readily available – and without any side effects. Foods with high vitamin and mineral levels actively help to reduces stress levels.
Certain foods and drinks can aggravate stress. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid some of them completely, just consume them in moderation.
Foods and drinks that can trigger and aggravate stress include:
- Tea, coffee, cocoa, energy drinks
- Fast foods and takeaways
- Butter, cheese
- Meat and shellfish
- Soda, soft drinks and chocolate drinks
- Almonds, macadamias and other nuts
- Coconut oil
Tea, coffee, cocoa and energy drinks should most definetly be avoided when stressed. They may be refreshing for someone that’s tired but they also contain neuro-stimulators like caffeine and theo-bromine, which are proven to heighten stress. Stress makes you anxious – further stimulation can heighten this anxiety and even cause insomnia.
Junk food and takeaways are always delicious but are a far cry from a balanced and healthy diet. They contain high levels of protein, fats and carbohydrates that don’t contain vital minerals and vitamins, which can induce stress. Reducing stress is all about a balance of the correct vitamins and minerals, so it’s highly recommended to avoid all fast foods and takeaways.
Beverages like soft drinks are packed full of calories that are useless and contain no vitamins or minerals. When stressed, a build-up of carbon dioxide and lactates in the body can result in a condition called ‘acidosis’, which is damaging to health. The high levels of carbon dioxide in beverages aggravates stress, therefore soft drinks need to be considered as an unnecessary addition to your diet. Sugar should be avoided where possible when stressed – stress causes an increase in blood glucose levels, which can in turn lead to a higher risk of developing diabetes. It’s not all doom and gloom, though, as there are plenty of foods that are good for helping to reduce stress:
A few of these foods include:
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Herbal products
Fresh fruit and vegetables provide an array of vitamins and minerals that are great for reducing stress. Vegetables also have a high fiber content, which is helpful in treating constipation – another long term effect of stress.
Fish such as mackerel contain omega fatty acids, which are extremely good for the heart and can protect you from heart diseases. Fish also contains choline – a great memory booster.
Yoghurts provide minerals including calcium, essential to maintain well functioning nerve impulses. Calcium also contains lactobacillus, which is essential for maintaining effective gut flora (micro organisms that help you to digest food properly). Herbal items such as Dandelion, Chamomile, and Passion flower to name but a few, will relax both the body and mind.
To keep stress to a minimum, design a meal plan for the day that incorporates a big meal in the morning, something relatively light for lunch and another light meal in the evening. Salad before your evening meal with fruits and yoghurts after is a sure way to satisfy your appetite.
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