How to Treat Your Own Stress:

Reduce Your Stress With The Right Diet!

 

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Reduce Your Stress With The Right Diet!

Diet

A healthy well balanced diet is essential in preserving health and reducing stress. There are some very specific foods and drinks which act as rather powerful stimulants to the body, and so may need to be taken in moderation. This stimulation, although it may be satisfying in the short term, can have harmful long term effects.

Caffeine

A substance, a stimulant, derived from coffee, tea, chocolate, and found to some extent in Coke. This compound causes the release of adrenaline, which will rapidly increase the level of stress you feel. This in turn will increase the level of stress you experience. Of course, like so many things, when taken in reasonable quantities, coffee can increase your alertness, contribute to increased activity in the muscles and is reputed to have some small benefits on the heart. But when you take too much, the effects is rather like that of long term stress. There may be a connection between high caffeine and high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

When you cut down your intake of caffeine, you need to watch for withdrawal symptoms - so reduce your intake slowly over a fairly long period of time.

Alcohol

Once again, in moderate quantities, alcohol can benefit the cardiovascular system. But it is also a major cause of stress; a somewhat ironic fact given that most people drink to overcome stress. The reality is that stress is made worse by the consumption of alcohol, not least because it strains the liver and stops you sleeping. 

Alcohol increases secretion of adrenaline which causes nervous tension, irritability and lack of sleep - insomnia. Excessive amounts of alcohol increase the fat deposits in the heart and suppress the immune function. Alcohol also impacts on the capacity of the liver to reduce the amounts of toxins from the body.

Smoking

Cigarettes are a powerful coping mechanism against stress. Smoking seems to relieve stress, but the long term  disadvantages far outweigh any short-term benefits. Smoking causes cancers, hypertension, respiratory illness and most of all heart disease.

Sugar

Sugar provides a short-term boost of energy, with a massive impact on the adrenal glands. This can cause irritability, poor concentration, and even more serious issues such as depression.

Salt

Salt increases hypertension, and is to be avoided in excess - any chemical with as potent an influence on body chemistry as salt should be taken in moderation. Junk foods such as bacon, ham, pickles, sausage, burgers and biscuits are high in salt and sugar.

Fat

Foods rich in saturated or processed fats cause obesity and stress the cardiovascular system. High fat is implicated in causing certain types of cancer - breast, colon and prostate cancers.

High carbohydrates are good

Carbohydrates cause release of serotonin, which relaxes the mind and body. Rice, pasta, potatoes, breads, and other high carb foods may all relieve the stress and anxiety of a stressful day.

High fibre food is good for you!

Stress affects the digestion system. So rather than get constipated, try eating high levels of fibre to keep your digestive system in good health and consume fruits, vegetables and grains, eat whole fruits instead of juice, and enjoy the benefits of whole-grain cereals and fibre-fortified bakery products.

Eat More Vegetables

Your brain makes serotonin, and its output of this vital neurotransmitter is partly dependent on your diet. Serotonin production is increased when you eat certain foods (see below) due to improved absorption of the amino acid L-Tryptophan. Absorption of L-Tryptophan is higher when you eat vegetables than when you eat meat.

Foods to Eat

  • Whole grains promote serotonin production, which increases your sense of relaxation and well-being.
  • Orange, green, yellow vegetables are high in minerals, phytochemicals and essential vitamins, all of which boost your body's immune response and protect you against disease.

Foods to Avoid

  • Coffee and other drinks with caffeine - you might even try black tea which has less than a third of the caffeine found in coffee
  • Fried foods and foods rich in fat are very immune-depressing and can make stress worse
  • Reduce animal protein in your diet since both dopamine and norepinephrine are associated with anxiety and stress.

The role of exercise in reducing stress