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Nutrition Ideas for Stress Reduction

By Cheryl Ellis, Staff Writer

(Page 1 of 2)

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 nutrition.



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