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Diet To Relieve Stress

Your body/mind needs the appropriate and best-quality fuel to run at optimum performance levels. A poor diet destroys more than our physical health – our mental health and well-being may be totally undermined. The symptoms of deficiency of most nutrients usually show up first in the brain and central nervous system. Your moods, memory, ability to concentrate and make decisions, are all affected by what you eat and drink.

You can also help control and cope with the symptoms of stress by eating regularly a varied, balanced and nourishing diet. In fact, this can do more than de-stress; it can improve your memory and overall mental performance, enhancing your mental well-being, improving your behavior and moods.

When you are under prolonged stress, your immune system can become depressed along with your mood. You are more prone to digestive problems because the automatic nervous system, which governs stomach action, is stimulated by anxiety. This triggers the secretion of excess stomach acid juices which can eat away at the stomach’s coating and over time can lead to inflammation and ulcers.

Stress also doubles your risk of catching a cold and other viral infections, as well as triggering all sorts of other health problems, from asthma and eczema to high blood pressure, heart disease and even possibly cancer. You can counteract many of the unhealthy effects of excessive stress by choosing healthy meals and snacks to calm your nerves and increase your vitality.

It’s not only what you eat, but how you eat that matters when looking at your diet and how to reduce stress levels through developing balanced and nutritious eating habits. It is well known that it is better to eat little and often than to eat large meals that may overtax an already stressed system, with large spaces between meals, when your blood sugar levels can fall dramatically.

A nutritious diet is the best defense against the destructive effects of stress in a healthy body. Although it is generally considered good advice to avoid eating when you are very angry or rushing around in a stressed state, it is obviously not practical or healthy to diet or eat irregularly when you are under prolonged stress of pressure. During these times, it is especially important to stop what you are doing and allow yourself to relax before eating. Eating wholesome foods that are easy on the digestive system will help you cope with stressful situation while maintaining your health.

Guidelines for stress free eating habits:

  • Give yourself time off to eat. Acknowledge the importance of nurturing your body and mind by allowing enough time to enjoy each meal.
  • Take time to eat, and put some thought into what you eat and the environment in which you eat.
  • Don’t eat if you are very anxious or angry; wait for the moment to pass.
  • Don’t bolt your food or eat on the run.
  • Eat breakfast. During stressful times it is important to keep your blood sugar levels steady to sustain your mental as well as physical energy. Breakfast is an essential high carbohydrate meal. If you starve yourself in the morning it can play havoc with your blood sugar levels.
  • Chew your food slowly and well – the mouth is where digestion begins. Good chewing and saliva production help break down and process the food you eat.
  • Choose fresh food, preferably home-cooked.
  • Eat plenty of whole unprocessed foods, like oats, barley, rice, whole-grain breads and cereals, fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts, dried beans and peas.
  • Eat fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Some experts recommend at least five servings a day.
  • Don’t eat too many high-sugar or fatty manufactured snacks. They have practically no nutritional value and can alter your moods and clog your digestive system.
  • Don’t add salt to your food. It can stimulate a state of high blood pressure.
  • Replace unhealthy salty or sugary snacks, like crisps, sweets, biscuits and cakes, with healthy snacks like sunflower and pumpkin seeds. Mixed seeds prove concentrated nourishment, packed with B-complex vitamins, calcium, iron, zinc and protein. Mixed seeds are ideal for countering irritability, depression and lack of energy.
  • The following are considered excellent for protecting you against stress:

    Kiwi fruit

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