Much to your surprise, you may be bringing unnecessary stress into your life through your lifestyle choices and habits. Your choices and habits can affect the way your body deals with stress. Prolonged stress adversely affects your nutritional status and needs, but your nutrition habits also affect how sensitive you are to stress.
When you are under extreme stress – such as an immediate threat to survival – physiological effects of stress help you survive. But, when the threat is less imminent, these reactive pathways become dysregulated, leading to chronic disease, disability, and pathology. Physiological effects of stress include:
- slowed digestion
- delayed reproductive and repair processes
- the priming of survival mechanisms (respiratory, cardiovascular, and muscular) for immediate use
- the depletion of the body’s nutrients
Your body needs fuel in the form of vital nutrients to cope with stress. The better nourished you are, the better chance you have of dealing with stress. By ignoring the demand for high-quality nutrients, you may engage in stress-related eating behaviors instead, which compromise your long-term health and quality of life.
5 Keys Herbs and Nutrients to Help You Fight Stress
- Incorporate specific herbs and adaptogens into your diet to support your nervous system and adrenal glands — like panax ginseng extract, codonopsis, and bupleurum.
- Incorporate powerful antioxidants and herbs to support your immune system — such as astragalus.
- Take non-dairy pre- and probiotics and herbs to reduce gut issues – such as apple pectin, slippery elm, milk thistle, and ginger rhizome to support the elimination of waste.
- Fill nutritional gaps with Super Green Juice, dried fruit and nuts.
- Choose healthy snacks to help manage your appetite and cravings for unhealthy foods — avocado, raw nuts, goat or nut yogurt and kefir, nutrients for management of blood sugar levels.
Understanding the role of key nutrients and building a nutrient-rich lifestyle are two stress-management techniques to incorporate into your daily self-care routine. An easy way to obtain key nutrients is by eating a whole-food-based “rainbow” that incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables of every color.
10 Foods Packed with Nutrition
- Grapefruit – contains vitamin C, folic acid, and potassium. Folic acid aids in energy production and is important for heart health. Potassium plays a role in regulating blood pressure.
- Cantaloupe – contains vitamins A & C, along with magnesium, potassium, and folate.
- Broccoli – contains chromium, magnesium, vitamin C, fiber, folate, and calcium. Calcium is important for bone health and regulation of blood pressure, and new research demonstrates the role of calcium in weight loss.
- Spinach – contains vitamin E, C, calcium, B6, folate, and fiber.
- Sweet potato– contains vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium.
- Beans – garbanzo, pinto, lentils, black, kidney, and navy — contain protein, iron, fiber, folate acid, and magnesium.
- Salmon – contains protein, B-vitamins, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids, which enhance the immune system.
- Oatmeal– contains fiber and magnesium.
- Kefir or goat yogurt – contain calcium, magnesium, B12, B6, zinc, and vitamin D, which is necessary for the absorption of calcium.
- Nuts – are a good source of protein, vitamin E, copper, magnesium, and folate.
Eating whole, unprocessed foods provide readily-available nutrients that the body can easily absorb and metabolize. They also reduce exposure to potentially allergenic or toxic food additives. Whole, unprocessed foods are a healthy and easy way to decrease stress that poor dietary choices puts on your body.