Stress is stressful. Stress can give us a bad day and a bad day can give us stress. But how we react to the stress triggers in our environment can change what we perceive as a bad day into a good day.
How the body manages stress is partially determined by nutrition or lack thereof. The following are foods that have shown to help the body manage stress.
- Lavender and chamomile are herbs that can be used as a tea that have a relaxing effect.
- Green tea is full of flavonoids which help protect neurons from neurotoxins, neuroinflammation and promote memory and cognitive function.
- Complex Carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and whole grains help produce serotonin which improves concentration and focus under stress.
- Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve brain function and help alleviate depression.
- Vitamin C has been shown in multiple studies to reduce stress.
- Probiotics are important to help maintain a healthy gut flora. The bacteria that live in the GI tract produce serotonin and GABA which are neurotransmitters that positively affect mood.
- A diet high in fiber has had a correlation with reduced anxiety, depression and stress.
A healthy diet affects the body’s ability to manage stress. Healthy habits do the same. The following are some examples of healthy habits and activities that have shown to help manage stress.
- Make sure 6-8 of hours of uninterrupted sleep occurs before waking up early.
- Breath. The simple act of slow deep breathing for even just a minute can decrease stress and tension throughout the body.
- Try taking a 10-minute walk once a day. The cardiovascular activity and release of endorphins can improve oxygenation to the brain and improve one’s mood as well as overall health.
- Laugh. Laughing improves oxygenation to the brain, decreases stress hormones and improves a sense of well-being.
- Attitude of Gratitude.
- Acupressure. Pressing between the knuckles of the 2nd and 3rd fingers where the fingers meet the hand, has been shown to relax the heart rate and alleviate stress temporarily.
- Declutter. Some say, “cluttered room, cluttered mind”.
- Unplug. Sometimes it is necessary to completely turn off and remove the phone, computer and any other electronic devise that constantly screams for attention.
Everyone is unique, everyone manages stress differently. One or a combination of any or all of these may be beneficial.
– By Mary Brown D.C.
Director Student Development for ACA Council on Nutrition
San Pedro North Chiropractic Center
San Antonio, TX
- Siegel, K. (2019). The 10 Best Foods to Help Fight Stress. Retrieved from https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition-pictures/how-to-reduce-stress-with-diet.asp
- Rampton, John. (2017). 25 Simple and Proven Ways to De-Stress. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296344