Tips on beating Stress
Do you find yourself feeling exhausted every day and always under pressure? Feeling like this often results in very disorganized eating habits, eating on the go, and often forgetting to eat and grabbing an easy, unhealthy meal.
Stress often results in shortness of temper and feeling grumpy. Eating certain foods that are high in vitamin B, C and folic acid such as green leafy vegetables, dairy, fruits and red meats will help overcome this.
In an attempt to help you overcome stress and low energy levels I would recommend eating 3 meals a day and 2 snacks in-between these meals. You should try to eat something every three hours. As well as eating three meals a day and two snacks try following the diet guidelines below to help you overcome stress and fatigue:
1 . Eat a little protein at each meal such as fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, cheese, sugar free yoghurt and legumes. Protein stabilizes the blood, lessens appetite and reduces the amount of food that you are likely to consume after eating. Stable blood sugar levels also protect against mood swings and help to control appetite, which is essential
for weight loss.
2. Eat a variety of high-fi brenon-starchy vegetables such as dark lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, red peppers, onions, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, kale and leeks. Fiber helps stabilize blood sugar, protecting against mood swings. It also helps to move food through the digestive tract.
3. Eat a variety of high-fibre non-starchy fruits such as fresh raspberries, blueberries, apples, kiwi fruit, cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelons. Many fruits have relatively low sugar content and are high in fibre, like many good-to-eat vegetables.
4. Cook with olive oil because olive oil is rich in oleic acid which is an anti-inflammatory. Since stress triggers low-grade inflammatory response, this oil helps protect against this. Omega 3 fats in oily fish also have an anti-inflammatory action.
5. Drink water and herbal tea. Bottled waters, white and green teas, as well as herbal teas.
6. Avoid fast-food and chain restaurants everything from Chinese to pizza.
7. In all restaurants, practice defensive eating- try to avoid starchy foods like pasta, white rice or potatoes, and stay away from deep-fried foods such as chips and falafel because overloading with refi ned foods causes a rise in blood glucose levels.
8. Avoid pre-packaged microwave meals at home and at the office. Prepackaged foods invariably contain large amounts of sugars, refi ned carbohydrates, unhealthy fats and other chemicals that do nothing positive for
9. Avoid most refi ned oils. Other than olive oil, most other edible forms of oil are unhealthy when heated and should be avoided when cooking. Cold-pressed oils from other sources (walnut, sesame, sunflower etc) are easily damaged by heat, so try using them as a salad dressing or add after heating.
10. Avoid or strictly limit your intake of sugars and grain-based carbohydrates. Deserts, doughnuts, pastries, bagels, breads, pastas and pizzas; even whole grain breads and pastas should generally be avoided. Most of these types of foods have high sugar content and thus the potential to destabilize blood sugar levels, increase the risk of diabetes, and contribute to mood and behavioural problems.
Finally, the best way to overcome stress and fatigue is a good nights sleep. A minimum of 7 hours of quality sleep a night is ideal. When you are stressed this seems impossible due to the following reasons:
• A drop in blood sugar, which stimulates a release of adrenaline to release glucose from stores. This is likely to happen if a person feels wide awake and stressed about something; a small snack half an hour before bed may help.
• Low magnesium, other signs are cramps, restless legs. Stress brings about greater requirements for magnesium. Try to eat more whole grains, spinach, bran-flakes, red meat, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds.
• Low serotonin levels. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter for good mood and sleep, which are likely to be low if you are stressed. Serotonin levels are increased through exercise.
• Lack of exercise. Exercise helps one to relax as well as reduce stress, depression and insomnia.
Nutritional Advisor and Life Coach.
BA, PGCE, DipNH (NH Inst.), DipLC (LC Inst.)