ARTICLES / General /
Nutrition Ideas for Stress Reduction /
By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer
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.
Any physical distress can result in generalized
stress for the individual, which includes even a
mild raising of blood pressure. 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 salt. With any changes, look for items that
may create food allergies. 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,
too. 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 your life. Adjusting the content and
quantity of food leads to less stress and better