Stress depletes the body of energy in a variety
of ways. Loss of sleep, feelings of agitation or
depression, and development of poor eating habits are
“side effects” of stress that need intervention. Some stress can help us rise to the occasion and
get things done, but too much stress drains the body. One way to break the stress cycle is by changing
the diet to one that can actually help reduce stress.
under stress will experience a reduction in vital
nutrients, such as B vitamins, which are nervous system
Depending on magnesium to help with muscles and calcium
for bones, the overstressed system may benefit from
vitamin and mineral supplements.
Before starting a vitamin regimen, consult with
your primary doctor about any special needs you may
doctor may be able to refer you to a nutritionist who
can target specific requirements and make useful dietary
stressed, all individuals may go for “comfort food,”
which can include coffee, even if it’s decaffeinated. Coffee, cola and chocolate are three major
suspects when it comes to providing comfort while
introducing caffeine, which will sap one’s ability to
Caffeine also dilates the kidneys, increasing the need
to empty the bladder.
While there’s nothing wrong with active, healthy
kidneys, it becomes inconvenient in the middle of the
Frequent urination also requires that we put the water
back into our system, and a continuous cycle of tasty
beverages with caffeine’s stimulating element can
dehydrate our systems.
Dehydration is a common nutritional problem. We don’t wash our clothes in soda or tea, but we
frequently “wash our insides” with these substances. Many people complain that “water is boring,” and
they have a point. Some folks recommend adding a splash of cranberry
juice, lemon or lime to adjust the flavor. There are vitamin supplements that can be added
to water to provide a break, also. The added hydration can be a tremendous stress
reducer, especially when incorporating exercise into a
stress management program.
changes that focus on key areas such as fat, fiber and
sugars lead to big improvements in overall health. Many of us opt for drive-thru or delivery to
solve the stress of cooking a meal. Some fast food companies are offering healthier
choices, but the old, less healthy favorites may be hard
to get away from. If you find that you are having a problem
acclimating yourself or your loved one to the “healthy”
options, add on components such as salad or vegetables
to round out the meal and incorporate fiber.
helps the body move food through the digestive system,
enhances the “full” feeling and improves digestion by
helping eliminate waste from the system. Constipation can increase stress in the body both
physically and emotionally. A balanced system eliminates waste at the proper
intervals, allowing the individual to feel comfortable
physically, leading to emotional comfort as well as
comes to vitamins, the first priority is to “eat” your
vitamins through “whole” foods that retain their
Whole foods do not have to be served raw, but there
should be no processing that adds preservatives. Creating “whole food meals” can be done gradually
by adding salads, or by blanching or steaming cut
Since time and energy are usually a factor, consider
paying extra for pre-cut vegetables. When cooking “whole” foods for you and your loved
one, you may need to add time on to the quick cooking
for softer vegetables.
frozen foods, properly cooked and with a minimum of
additives, can provide better nutritional alternatives
than one might imagine. Opt for minimal processing. This includes the amount of sodium in canned,
frozen or even in deli-prepared foods.
bars or food bars in grocery chains may appear healthy,
but combine questionable ingredients. For example, the “healthy” tuna salad may contain
far more mayonnaise than some people might use. The same is true for salad dressings prepared at
salad bars and added on to the greens. Most retailers and restaurants will disclose
nutrition values, but you can get an idea by just
looking at some offerings. One way around the confusion in salad bars is to
mix “plain,” unadorned vegetables, nuts and pastas with
a smaller portion of your favorite sauce laden dish.
Overeating can be a reaction to stress, but it is also
something that creates stress on many levels. Experimenting with smaller portions and more
frequent meals can reduce the demand on the body to
process a big meal at once. This technique also cuts down on berating oneself
for eating too much.
physical distress can result in generalized stress for
the individual, which includes even a mild raising of
Salt is a nutrient everyone needs; but when
overused, can create bloating, mild dehydration and
problems with blood pressure.
Salt alternatives range from lemon pepper to
products like dulse, a sea vegetable that adds salt
flavor but may be healthier because it is not table
any changes, look for items that may create food
For example, sea vegetables can create allergic
reactions in people who have an iodine allergy.
Sugar in moderate quantities can be metabolized and
exercised away. The definition of “moderate” varies from one
source (and one individual) to another. Cutting out sugar may be impossible,
considering many foods (even ones from the health
food store) contain some variation of sugar.
Sugar’s other names are high fructose corn syrup,
cane sugar, turbinado, dextrose, maltose and others. Sugar “alcohols” like malitol can still
affect blood sugar. Artificial sweeteners have their drawbacks,
Allergies, digestive intolerance and more are part
of “real” and “fake” sugar. Until you allow your body a break from sugar,
you may not be able to tell which reactions are due
to its consumption.
Reducing allergens and foods that keep the body in a
“hyper” state (caffeine, salty foods and sugars)
take away the need for the body to work to process
the ingredients. Taking a break from some foods and additives is
one way to reduce stress on the body. Rather than a stressful and radical makeover of
your diet, remove one item at a time, and rotate it back
into your diet about four days later. This can help you identify minor and major food
stressors on the body.
Allergens, portions and “bad foods” can add stress to
Adjusting the content and quantity of food leads to less
stress and better nutrition.
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