In times of stress we are often tempted to neglect our physical needs and healthy eating can take a back seat when faced with a crisis. Stress can have variety of negative effects on a person, both mentally and physically, and nutrients can be quickly depleted when the ‘fight or flight’ response kicks in leaving the body exhausted. It is therefore more important than ever to eat a well-balanced diet when under pressure to ensure you have the necessary energy reserves to help combat stress and build resilience.
Key Nutrients to Keep you Calm:
Vitamin B – Numerous studies have shown that supplementation of B Vitamins can reduce stress and anxiety by helping to produce feel good chemicals in the brain that can help keep you calm. Vitamin B can be found in a wide range of foods including whole grains, bananas, beans and meats, so eat yourself happy.
Antioxidants – Fresh fruit, green vegetables and berries are a rich source of dietary antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E that can repair the damage caused by oxidative stress, which within the brain can result in emotional trauma. Try to eat a wide variety of seasonal produce to perk up your immune system and support your mental wellbeing.
Water – In times of stress far better to stick to water than reach for the caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine raises stress hormones which can affect your body’s ability to handle pressure and lead to insomnia and dehydration, whilst alcohol increases cortisol levels, altering the brain’s chemistry and leaving you feeling anxious. Not keen on water? Try a chamomile tea for its relaxing properties or natural orange juice for a hit of vitamin C to boost your immune system.
Treats – No food is a sin and it’s what you eat on a regular basis that contributes to long term good health, not the odd treat. Whilst it’s important to eat a well-balanced diet, remember your body will also crave foods that are satisfying. So if a slice of cake now and again gets you through a tough time, enjoy it and don’t feel guilty!