Nutrition: Seven diet and lifestyle tips to better manage stress

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It is important to do our best to manage or minimize stress in order to protect our health.

The good news is that there are many lifestyle changes that can help you manage stress better. However, if you are feeling overwhelmed, depressed or struggling to cope, you can get help from your GP.

What are some lifestyle changes that can help with stress?

1. Choose whole, natural foods and be sure to eat at least five servings of non-starchy vegetables a day

These foods help provide the nutrients you need to support your adrenal glands, such as vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium.

2. Start the day with a balanced breakfast

Avoid sugary cereals, pastries and excess caffeine. Instead, focus on protein from foods such as eggs, dairy, nuts, and seeds, combined with complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains.

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A rich and varied diet is recommended to combat stress.

3. Prioritize protein

In chronic stress, the body has an increased need for protein. In addition, more protein in a meal helps slow the release of sugar, which has the effect of stabilizing blood sugar. In the UK, the Dietary Reference Intake (RDA) is 0.75 grams/kg body weight. This is the minimum amount, calculated on the basis of an average sedentary adult.

Choose lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds at every meal. Learn about the best sources of protein and find the right balance between protein and carbs.

4. Don’t be a captain

Be sure to eat regularly, taking healthy snacks if necessary. Small, regular meals will help maintain your energy level and mood, while decreasing fatigue and irritability.

5. Cut out highly refined carbs

These are foods such as white bread, pasta, chocolate, cookies, sweets or foods with added sugars.

Hidden sugars can also be found in cereals, canned foods, and processed or packaged foods. Replace processed foods with unrefined foods like brown bread, brown rice, oats and rye.

Note that excess alcohol can also disrupt blood sugar.

6. Watch out for caffeine

Stimulants such as tea and coffee can provide a temporary energy boost, but excessive consumption can lower energy levels and deplete nutrients over the long term.

Try to drink at least 1 to 1.5 liters of filtered water throughout the day and replace caffeinated beverages with herbal teas or fruit teas.


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Stress negatively impacts health.

7. Emotional eating

For us, food is more than just food. It is also linked to our emotions and our social relationships. When we are stressed, many of us turn to food, binge and make less wise choices.

Let’s not forget that during a stressful experience, the body diverts blood from our digestive system, which can leave us feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

What other practices can help me deal with stress?

The good news is that there are many activities that can help improve stress:

  • Good quality sleep – few people function well on less than seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  • Going outside – the benefits of fresh air and contact with nature are countless.
  • Regular and gentle physical activity – it helps relieve stress and decrease negative emotions such as worry or anxiety.
  • However, for people with severely depleted adrenal hormones, intensive cardiovascular exercise is likely to further deplete adrenal reserves – so identify the type of exercise that is right for you.
  • Regular relaxation – reading, taking a bath, getting a massage or listening to music are all great ways to promote relaxation.
  • Meditation is a great way to calm your mind. Moreover, it is free and once you have practiced it, you can practice it anywhere and anytime.
  • Yoga – yoga is not only a great form of exercise, it also incorporates meditation to help slow down and calm the body and mind.
  • Counseling can be beneficial for people who are dealing with significant stressors.

If you’re feeling stressed and anxious, don’t neglect it.

Ask your GP or healthcare professional for advice.

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