Medbroadcast  Powered by MediResource
 Search

Go
 Browse alphabetically
ABCDEFGHIJKLMN
OPQRSTUVWXYZ
HEALTH TOPICS
Family & Child Health
Men's Health
Women's Health
Seniors' Health
Addiction
Allergy
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Arthritis (Rheumatoid)
Asthma
Atrial Fibrillation
Baby Health
Back Health
Bedwetting
Bladder (Overactive)
Brain Health
Cancer
Childhood Vaccinations
Cholesterol
Crohn's & Colitis
Cold and Flu
COPD NEW!
Cosmetic Procedures
Depression NEW!
Diabetes
Digestive Health
Ear Health
Eating Disorders
Eye Health
Flu (Seasonal)
Fertility
Fitness
Healthy Skin
Heart
High Blood Pressure
HPV
Hyperhidrosis
Incontinence
Infection
Kidney Health
Low Testosterone NEW!
Lung Health
Medications and your Health
Menopause
Mental Health
Multiple Sclerosis NEW!
Natural and Complementary Therapy
Nutrition
Obesity
Oral Care
Osteoarthritis of the Knee NEW!
Pain
Pregnancy
Psoriasis
Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)
Seasonal Health
Sexual Health
Sleep Health
Stroke Risk Reduction
Smoking
Weight Management
Workplace Health
Yeast Infection
All health channels

STAY CONNECTED
RESOURCES
Ask an Expert
Clinical Trials
Find a Specialist
Health features
News
Tools


Condition Info Drug Info Tests and Procedures Natural Products Ask an Expert Support Groups Clinical Trials
Home Bookmark Page Send to a Friend Sante Chez Nous Subscribe
Nutrition > Diet and active lifestyles > How to take a bite out of stress
Nutrition
Diet and active lifestyles
Diet and aging
Diet and disease
Diets and dietary habits
Food safety
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Nutrition Month
Summer eating
Supplements and nutraceuticals
What's hot
Research news
Brain food for thought
Eating healthy in a busy world
Exercise and nutrition
Fuelling an athlete's Olympic spirit: Priscilla Lopes-Schliep
Getting your body out of dehydration
Hectic lifestyles and nutrition
How to make the pickiest eater enjoy eating
How to take a bite out of stress
Mindfulness and eating
The buzz on energy drinks
View All
Nutrition resources
Related channels
Health features
Health tools
Ask an Expert
Support groups
Related conditions
Natural products
Discussion forums
Quiz yourself



How to take a bite out of stress

Food shouldn't be a source of stress. In fact, food should be one of your best stress-busting allies. Our bodies use food to help affect our ability to respond to a moment's tension or a long-standing stress. Some foods can make us jumpy, while other foods can steady our energy and equip us to handle challenges as they arise.

And yet no one food could be labelled "best stress-buster." By eating a healthy and balanced diet, you give your body almost everything it needs to function well under pressure. That said, there are a few foods you should try to add to your diet to help you work through the tension.

Complex carbohydrates

When stress strikes, your body may crave carbohydrates. Eat carb-filled foods and your body creates serotonin, which sends good-mood messages to your brain. To get "carb calm" you need to eat complex carbohydrates, like whole grains. Complex carbs are digested more slowly than simple carbs found in sugary foods.

If you eat sweets, any "carb calm" you feel will be cancelled out by the surge of insulin that will lower your blood sugar and make you feel hungry again. Slow carbs will keep you full for longer, too, so you won't have to stress over hunger pangs or digestive dramas.

Stress less snacks: Fill up on fibre-rich foods like oatmeal or whole-grain breads, rice, and pasta to help you stay calm, cool, and collected. Most starchy vegetables and legumes will fit the bill, too. Try starchy sweet potatoes, crunchy carrots, baked beans, or just about any green vegetable!

Vitamin C

Give your daily diet a vitamin C boost to balance your body's output of stress hormones. Some studies show that with enough vitamin C during tense times, your body may be able to slow down the production of cortisol. That's the chemical stuff of stress that sends us into that "fight-or-flight" frenzy we experience when challenged or threatened. Cortisol is good for our bodies in healthy doses, but too much cortisol on a regular basis can make us more vulnerable to depression, learning and memory difficulties, and physical illness - all sources of further stress.

Stress less snacks: Oranges aren't the only source of C in the bushel. Papaya bursts with vitamin C, as do strawberries, cantaloupe, and kiwi fruit. Munch on raw bell pepper, a sprig of parsley, or steam some greens like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, or kale.

Healthy fats

Fat is usually the bad guy, but when you're stressed out, fat can be your friend. If you trim the fat during lean times, you leave yourself vulnerable and ill-equipped to handle stress. In one study, women put on a low-fat diet experienced swings in their mood, showing more irritability than the group on a normal-fat diet.

Don't go for any old fat, though. Since stressful times boost your body's cortisol levels, any excess calories you eat can quickly turn to unhealthy belly fat. Instead, opt for healthy fats, like those found in foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These fats may help support your body with a steadier attitude toward stress.

Stress less snacks: Net the benefits of omega-3s by eating more oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, herring, and light tuna. If fish isn't your thing, omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in walnuts, flaxseed, beans, tofu, and olive oil. Monounsaturated fats are another healthier choice. Creamy avocados will give you the fit fat, along with other nuts like almonds, cashews, and peanuts.

B vitamins

A body under stress pumps out cortisol, which then borrows from the body's vitamin storage to power all of those dreaded stress symptoms. Fight back against cortisol by stockpiling B vitamins. This complex of vitamins - including folate, niacin, and riboflavin - supports the nervous system.

Stress less snacks: Feast on green leafy vegetables and whole grains, and you'll meet most of your body's B requirement. Getting B6 and B12 can be tricky for vegetarians and vegans, as these nervous-system supporting vitamins are mostly found in animal products. If organ meats, fish, liver, eggs, poultry, and milk are not on the menu, try adding brown rice and soybeans or taking supplements.

Magnesium

Reacting to stress takes a lot of energy: Along with B vitamins, our bodies also use up magnesium. This mineral has lots of jobs in our bodies, including maintaining proper nerve and muscle function and keeping bone and teeth healthy.

Having too little magnesium means our nerves can get overexcited, which leads to muscle tension, cramps, and weakness. Our heart rate can also increase, our blood sugar can become unstable, and our blood pressure can be elevated. Add headaches into the mix, and you have a potential stress management disaster. On the other hand, a body coursing with enough magnesium will enjoy relaxed muscles and healthy nerve function.

Stress less snacks: Munch on a handful of raw pumpkin seeds for a mega-boost of magnesium. Grab some sunflower and sesame seeds while you're at it. Again, green leafy vegetables pack a stress-busting punch, especially spinach and Swiss chard.

Amy Toffelmire



Advertisement

Did you find what you were looking for on our website? Please let us know.

Hot Topics - Bedwetting, Depression, Flu (Seasonal), Healthy Skin, Incontinence, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Stroke Risk Reduction

Condition and disease information is written and reviewed by the MedBroadcast Clinical Team.


The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.
© 1996 - 2014 MediResource Inc. - MediResource reaches millions of Canadians each year.