Daily stress can play havoc with your health, both in the short and long term. Restore the equilibrium of body and mind with our dietary tips.
If you’re frequently in a state of worry, anxiety or stress, your mind and body will be suffering. Stress affects our digestive system, nervous system, sleep habits and lots more areas of our lives. It’s important to do what we can to manage or minimise stress to protect our overall health.
The good news is, there are plenty of lifestyle modifications that may help you better manage stress. However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, depressed or struggling to cope, help is available – visit the NHS website or speak to your GP.
What Are Lifestyle Changes To Help With Stress?
1. Choose whole, natural foods and ensure you eat a minimum of five portions of non-starchy vegetables per day
These foods help provide the nutrients you need to support your adrenal glands such as vitamin C, the B group of vitamins and magnesium. Want to know more? Read up on what counts as five-a-day, cheap ways to get your five-a-day and recipes which contain all of your five-a-day.
2. Start the day with a balanced breakfast
Avoid sugary cereals, pastries and too much caffeine. Instead focus on protein from foods like eggs, dairy foods, nuts and seeds combined with complex carbohydrates, such as those found in wholegrains.
3. Prioritise protein
When chronically stressed the body has an increased demand for protein. What’s more, including more protein in a meal helps slow the release of sugar, so it has a blood sugar stabilising effect. In the UK, the Reference Nutrient Intake (RNI) is 0.75 gram/kg of body weight. This is the minimum amount and is based on an average sedentary adult
Choose lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds in each meal. Get ideas from our high-protein recipes, read up on the best sources of protein and get the balance right – protein and carbs.
4. Don’t be a skipper
Ensure that you eat regularly, enjoying healthy snacks as required. Small, regular meals will help to maintain energy levels and mood, while decreasing tiredness and irritability.
5. Ditch highly refined carbs
These are foods such as white bread, pasta, chocolate, biscuits, sweets or foods with added sugars. Hidden sugars may also be found in cereals, tinned produce and processed or packaged foods. Replace processed foods with unrefined foods like wholemeal bread, whole-grain rice, porridge oats and rye. Note that excess alcohol can also disrupt blood sugar levels.
6. Be careful with the caffeine
Stimulants such as tea and coffee may provide a temporary energy boost, but consuming too much may reduce energy levels and deplete nutrients in the long term.
Aim to drink at least 1-1.5 litres of filtered water throughout the day and try incorporating herbal or fruit teas instead of caffeinated drinks.
7. Emotional eating
Food means more to us than simply nourishment, it’s wrapped up with our emotions and social connections, too. When stressed, many of us turn to food, we may binge eat and make less favourable choices. Don’t forget, during a stressful experience, the body diverts blood away from our digestive system, and this may leave us feeling bloated and uncomfortable.
What Other Practices May Help Me Manage Stress?
The good news is there are plenty of activities that may help ameliorate stress these include, but are not limited to:
- Good quality sleep – few people function properly with less than seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
- Get outside – the benefits of fresh air and connecting with nature are countless.
- Regular, gentle exercise – helps relieve stress and decrease negative emotions such as worry or anxiety. However, for people with significantly depleted adrenal hormones, intensive cardiovascular exercise may further deplete adrenal reserves – so work out what type of exercise is right for you.
- Regular relaxation – reading, having 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, plus it’s free, and once you are practised you can do it anywhere, anytime.
- Yoga – not only is yoga a great form of exercise it also incorporates meditation to help slow down and calm the body and mind.
- Counselling may be beneficial for those having to cope in the face of severe stressors.
If you are feeling stressed and anxious, do not disregard it. Seek advice from your GP or health professional.
The watching, interacting, and participation of any kind with anything on this page does not constitute or initiate a doctor-patient relationship with Dr. Farrah™. None of the statements here have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The products of Dr. Farrah™ are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information being provided should only be considered for education and entertainment purposes only. If you feel that anything you see or hear may be of value to you on this page or on any other medium of any kind associated with, showing, or quoting anything relating to Dr. Farrah™ in any way at any time, you are encouraged to and agree to consult with a licensed healthcare professional in your area to discuss it. If you feel that you’re having a healthcare emergency, seek medical attention immediately. The views expressed here are simply either the views and opinions of Dr. Farrah™ or others appearing and are protected under the first amendment.
Dr. Farrah™ is a highly experienced Licensed Medical Doctor certified in evidence-based clinical nutrition, not some enthusiast, formulator, or medium promoting the wild and unrestrained use of nutrition products for health issues without clinical experience and scientific evidence of therapeutic benefit. Dr. Farrah™ has personally and keenly studied everything she recommends, and more importantly, she’s closely observed the reactions and results in a clinical setting countless times over the course of her career involving the treatment of over 150,000 patients.
Dr. Farrah™ promotes evidence-based natural approaches to health, which means integrating her individual scientific and clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise, I refer to the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.
Dr. Farrah™ does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of any multimedia content provided. Dr. Farrah™ does not warrant the performance, effectiveness, or applicability of any sites listed, linked, or referenced to, in, or by any multimedia content.
To be clear, the multimedia content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any website, video, image, or media of any kind. Dr. Farrah™ hereby disclaims any and all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, punitive, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content, which is provided as is, and without warranties.