Can Food Help Reduce Stress?

What do you eat when you are feeling “over-the-top” stress?


Fresh vegetables, fresh fish, fresh meat and fresh fruit are your best antidote to stress.  Why?  Vitamins and minerals.

The more we do to food, the less nutritious it is.  Fast food has only one redeeming quality:  fast.  For an already stressed body, fast food adds that much more stress to a system which is already exhibiting the ravages of acute stress.  It’s very difficult to digest the sugars and fats contained in fast food.

Try to make those fresh food items organic as much as possible.

Stress revs up the production of insulin and cortisol.  This is one of the reasons that some people, under constant stress, gain a lot of weight contrary to the popular belief that stress makes you thin.  In fact, in some people, going on holidays helps them get thinner because their body is not producing excess insulin and cortisol. Fresh food, high in fiber, helps regulate those hormones.

Your digestive process is affected by stress as well as every other part of your body. Therefore, it is critical that you pay attention to the amount of fiber in your diet.  Our tendency is to reach for the high carbohydrates and sugars such as potatoes and candy to give us that “boost”.  With any boost, also comes the “crash”.

Good Habits

There is nothing here that you don’t already know but, if you’re acutely stressed, you likely don’t do:

  • drink plenty of water throughout the day
  • eat low fat proteins such as fish, chicken, turkey
  • snack on fresh fruit such as apples, berries, oranges, grapefruit – have a bowl of apples on your desk –
  • eat fresh vegatables as much as possible – with all the colors, shapes, textures, and flavors, there’s something for everyone – stir fries during the week for dinner are quick and colorful and eating raw vegetables or salad (limit dressing) for lunch with some protein is ideal
  • limit the amount of starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes.  When you do enjoy them, make sure they are items such as brown or wild rice, whole grain pasta and breads, and preferably sweet potatoes as opposed to regular potatoes and preferably baked, not fried.
  • consume dairy for calcium – milk, cottage cheese, small amounts of cheese
  • instead of coffee, drink herbal teas – there are so many flavors on the market today which are non-caffeine, it can be a great new adventure to discover them all

Additional Help for Your Body

Do remember too to take supplements

  • overall good multiple vitamin
  • extra multiple vitamin B
  • essential fatty acids preferably from good sources of cold water fish oil
  • if you’re having digestive problems, digestive enzymes  or acidophilus
  • vitamin C – at least 1000 milligrams a day
  • Vitamin E, Selenium, CoQ10
  • magnesium/calcium assists hormone levels

There are some herbs which can be helpful and can be taken as a tincture or tea as magnolia bark, passionflower, valerian, St. John’s Wort, Kava Kava, Lavender.  My favorite is lavender on my pillow at night, in my hand lotion during the day, and in the potpourri form in my clothes drawers.

Pay attention to what goes into your body and what foods your body has a negative reaction to.  If you experience acid reflux, apple cider vinegar in a glass of water clears it up.

Can Food Help Reduce Stress?

Of course!  A healthy body gives you the resilience to cope and the brain power to find solutions.  If your body is having to deal with food which only stresses it such as high carbohydrate or high fat, it’s adding stress rather than relieving it not to mention how awful you feel overall.

Eat well, drink wisely, and help your body give you the energy you need to cope with your stresses.

It’s easy – just think fresh!

Lorraine Arams

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