Diet and the Effect on Stress
In today’s world, most of us are affected by stress in various degrees. While stress is a natural part of our human existence, we tend to make it a daily ritual as opposed to a response due to a frightful situation. Long term effects of stress can lead to many different ailments and problems that can take a toll on not just your physical body but every area of your life. So the ultimate question here is, can my diet affect my stress levels?
My take on balance and good health incorporates the whole body, mind and spirit concept, where one affects the other. The food we fuel our bodies with directly affect our mood, which also affects the way we concentrate and in turn how we view the world. So if we are constantly under stress, we should immediately recognize that our lifestyle needs to change or it may be going down the wrong path. By exercising and fueling ourselves with a wholesome diet and incorporating superfoods into our daily routine, we can begin the process of nourishing the body back to its natural state.
Eating highly processed foods, refined sugars, an acidic diet can all contribute to sluggishness and low energy. It is bad enough that stress hormones are the heaviest in creating acidity in the body. In 1931, Dr. Otta Warburg, nobel prize winner for cancer discovery stated, “No diseases including cancer, can exist in an alkaline environment.” So it is important to help alkalize the body and a healthy diet is a good way to start.
When we are depleted of energy, it affects our mood and how we deal with situations. Eating wholesome foods, such as raw fruit and vegetables, quality meats and dairy (nix that for vegetarians and vegans of course), sprouted/soaked whole grains, nuts and superfoods, etc. can really make a difference over time.
Certain habits such as frequent heavy alcohol consumption can really affect your state of mind. While having a glass of wine at the end of a long day can actually help release some stress, high quantities can actually do the reverse. It can make you more emotional as the drinks are going down due to the high concentration of alcohol soaking into the brain. One can also lose the ability to control their emotions and become more sensitive which can lead to more stress than that of which was intended for the night.
One mineral we should all look at when it comes to stress is Magnesium. It is the 4th most abundant mineral in the body. If a person is chronically stressed then there will be a magnesium deficiency and if you have a magnesium deficiency most likely you will be more reactive to stress and adrenaline. This creates more magnesium loss due to the stress hormones and so the cycle repeats. Incorporating some magnesium rich foods into your diet can be useful.
Some examples of Mg rich foods:
- -Raw cacao or good quality dark chocolate
- -sesame seeds, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
- -brazil nuts and almonds
Decreasing your coffee intake can also make a difference. Caffeine triggers the stress hormone, cortisol to release which makes you more alert. Perhaps lower the quantity and increase the quality, as coffee is high in pesticide residue, GMO’s, taxes the liver and stresses your adrenals. Choose good quality coffee beans and limit consumption to one a day. Alternatives: Yerba mate (increases ability to focus and assists with stress/insomnia), matcha tea, kombucha, etc.
- List of superfoods that helps with stress:
- -Reishi mushroom/Chaga
- -fresh/raw coconut
- -Maca powder
- -Bee pollen
- -Valerian Root
Another important vitamin is our Vitamin B complex which is important for keeping stress low and energy high.