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Stress Advice - Stress and Diet

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A Healthy Diet is Essential to Relieve and Reduce Stress

If you are trying to relieve or cure stress, it is absolutely essential that you take a look at your diet and lifestyle. Bad habits in these areas can cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms and adopting a healthy lifestyle can help to relieve many ailments. Adequate nutrition is an essential tool in your coping skills for stress toolbox .

Take a look at what you drink. Caffeine and alcohol may appear to give you a temporary high and help you to cope in the short term, but over a longer period of time, they will reduce your ability to deal with stress by causing symptoms of restlessness, irritability and depression.

Whilst drinking coffee to stay awake in the day, then winding down with alcohol at night may deceive you into thinking you can achieve more, over time these drugs will start to deplete your energy and vitamins and affect your health. You won't be getting the quality sleep that you need and you will need to increase your consumption in order to achieve the same effects. Try reducing your consumption of these chemicals in order to feel calmer and less stressed.



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The healthier option would be to achieve more using meditation rather than self-medication. Drinking more water will also help you to feel cleansed and refreshed. Some herbal teas are also particularly good at helping reduce stress - the most well known of which is chamomile. Try it with honey if you don't like the taste or buy a brand which includes honey and vanilla in the flavour.

People who are suffering from the effects of a stressful life often do not eat well. Perhaps they miss meals or exist purely on junk food. Their bodies miss out on vital nutrients which often compounds matters, leading to illness and lack of vitality. There is often a close relationship between poor diet and stress.

You should therefore try to include adequate quantities of fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet to obtain sufficient nutrients. You can also try incorporating more stress reducing foods into your diet. These are protein-rich foods high in Tryptophan. This chemical increases levels of Serotonin in the body - a hormone which is known to regulate our mood, affect our appetite and levels of sleep. So these foods should help you in your fight to relieve stress. Included in this category are pasta, bananas, milk, cheese, cottage cheese, nuts and avocado.

If your diet is lacking, it is also beneficial to take vitamins for stress. Levels of vitamins A and C, the B group vitamins and the mineral magnesium are often depleted during times of stress and it may be a good idea to take supplements. Special tablet combinations are available specifically as stress vitamins.

There may also be a link between stress and weight gain. Research has also shown that stress can be a cause of weight gain around the abdomen. This is because of increased amounts of the stress hormone cortisol in the body which affects blood sugar levels and can make you prone to put on weight, especially if you are also snacking on fats and junk.

Of course, you may also be eating more because you are feeling stressed. Emotional problems can be a common cause of over-eating for comfort and some people may find it hard to stop themselves binging. However, identifying the cause of the problem can help you to do something about it. Learn to use other coping strategies for stress instead of eating as a way of dealing with your stress.

If you are not eating properly then you should consider changing your diet before this starts causing you health issues. Don't forget that you are what you eat, so taking care of your body can only improve your state of mind. When you feed yourself on highly nutritious foods, your body feels better and you are able to cope better with stress. And without your bodily and mental health, the material world has little to offer. So take good care of yourself.

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