ARTICLES / General /
Nutrition Ideas for Stress Reduction /
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer
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.