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The importance of
nutrition for stress reflief
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Cortisol Stress and CoffeeStress and Nutrition

Introduction

Stress is described as a condition of mental and physical tension caused by certain internal or external factors in a person's life. Internal factors that influence body's capacity to handle stress include overall health and fitness levels, emotional well being, nutritional status, and the amount of sleep and rest. External factors comprise physical environment such as home, relationships with others, challenges, job, difficulties, expectations and all other situations.

Some signs and symptoms of stress include:

  • headaches
  • eating disorder
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • allergies
  • backaches
  • insomnia
  • frequent cold
  • fatigue and diseases such as hypertension
  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • heart ailments and even cancer

Importance of Nutrition on Stress

Good nutrition is necessary for everybody and a sensible diet with proper eating habits is the key to help manage stress and thus maintain good health. It helps in repairing the damage caused by stress, and preparing the body for future stress. Certain types of foods and drinks have been scientifically proven to reduce or alleviate stress. Conversely, eating some sorts of foods can cause or intensify stress levels.

Opt for a variety of foods to make sure that you eat all of the forty to sixty nutrients you require to stay healthy. These include minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, amino acids and energy from protein, carbohydrates and fat. Add more plant based foods to your diet as they are packed with body strengthening and disease fighting antioxidants. Even as most foods hold more than one nutrient, no single food offers sufficient amount of all nutrients.

Foods that Help Reduce Stress

Whole grains, high fiber food, beans, legumes, moderate amount of lean meat, low fat dairy products, nuts, seeds etc are necessary for alleviating stress levels. Vegetables and fruits are rich in several nutrients that are necessary to relieve the symptoms and thus lower stress levels. White beans, black eyed peas, tomatoes and pinto beans are exceptional vegetable sources of thiamine (Vitamin B1), which are useful in defeating temporary depression.


Eat foods high or rich in potassium such as squash, orange juice, potatoes, limes, apricots, bananas, avocados and peaches.

Also raise your intake of calcium that is found in cheese, yogurt, chick- peas and tofu. For relieving stress, you need more nutrients, particularly the B vitamins. Potatoes, lentils, bananas, chile peppers, liver oil, tempeh, liver, turkey, nutritional yeast, tuna and molasses are natural sources of different B vitamins. There are several other foods that trim down stress like milk, white and yellow onions and red and green bell peppers.

Foods to Avoid for Stress

For relieving stress, it is very important to avoid the intake of particular types of foods that can increase stress levels. Generally these comprise foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fats. Usually, salt and saturated fats are found in junk foods as well as fried, packaged, processed and refined foods. Try to replace the meats in your diet with servings of fish, particularly oily fish such as salmon. The consumption of too much caffeine has the similar outcome on long term stress. In addition, avoid the consumption of foods such as chocolate, alcohol, coffee (contains high amounts of cortisol which affects stress) and soda pop etc.

Don't forget about Exercise


Exercise is one of the most important factors that help reduce stress.


People who exercise on a regular basis normally have:
All these help their body deal with stressful events.

For alleviating stress, there are physical, mental and spiritual exercises. Normally, stress relief exercises do not involve vigorous body movements. But involve meditation and deep breathing exercises for both mind and body – all these have been shown to decrease blood pressure.


 
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