Today I’m going to talk stress! I know, I know… it’s one of those subjects that brings out emotions and lots of “I’m not THAT stressed” comments but now more than ever, we live in an age of high stress and I firmly believe that the right nutrition can have a dramatic impact on your ability to cope with it. So I put together my top 5 nutrients that may help your body to have a balanced response to stress, helping you to feel calmer and more relaxed.
Magnesium and calcium
Magnesium can help to relax muscles and reduce anxiety, while also playing an essential role in hormone and energy production. Nuts – particularly Brazil nuts – are high in magnesium, as are beans and lentils, wholegrains and leafy greens. A lack of either calcium or magnesium can make you more nervous, irritable and aggressive. Research into stress and diet shows that calcium may be able to help reduce certain symptoms, such as muscle tension and anxiety. So include plenty of calcium rich foods in your diet such as cooked spinach, basil, kale, rosemary, romaine lettuce, celery, sesame seeds, broccoli, cabbage, green beans, Brussels sprouts, asparagus.
B vitamins are essential for helping to cope with stress in a balanced way and can be found in bananas, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) in particular is found in high concentrations in the adrenal glands (the part of the body that manages the stress response).
The largest store of vitamin C is in the adrenal glands, so keep these glands healthy by eating plenty of vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, tomatoes, peppers, leafy greens and broccoli. This nutrient is rapidly depleted during chemical, emotional, psychological or physiological stress and it is particularly important to supply high quantities during these times to cope with increased demand.
L-theanine is a relaxing, health-promoting amino acid found in tea. Studies have shown that when theanine is absorbed by the body, it can help to bring about an alert, yet totally relaxed state of mind. L-theanine may help to support balance and improve the quality of sleep.
And don’t forget I will be attending the Love That Life!: health, fitness and wellness show with the Body Fabulous team at the Guildhall in Salisbury this Saturday – so come along (it’s free), say hello and have a chat www.facebook.com/events/1625664727472046/