Stress is a dreaded word these days. So much so, that we have authors write thick books about it, we have businesses running in the name of stress therapy and medications to curb stress sell loose!
So, why does this article state that Stress is good?
Let’s understand Stress first and how it affects our body.
Stress is a reaction to a certain situation and the body’s way of making you more alert and ready to take on a challenge. When a stressful situation hits (like a dog comes running in front of our car), we need an extra spurt of energy to counter these situations. The brain directs your adrenal glands located right above your kidneys through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, to release a surge of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, blood pressure and energy supply. Cortisol increases sugar and glucose in the blood. This is a natural response and is helpful in situations like when one has to apply emergency brakes, or run for life when a fire breaks. Have you ever noticed how after such incidences we usually stop for 5 minutes and breathe till we feel normal? That is to get the body regulatory back on Track.
So Stress is a natural way for our body to adapt to certain situations and hence is good.
But, today’s lifestyle demands us to be on a high alert ALL THE TIME. Whether, it’s from our workplaces, or handling children or family issues and most of the times all of them combined! There is no time to STOP AND BREATHE till we feel normal.
The human body is designed to experience stress and react to it appropriately. Stress can be positive and negative. However, when the stress continues for continued time with no relaxation it leads to a situation called distress resulting in chronic illness.
Foods helps tame stress and a healthy diet can counter the impact of stress, by shoring up the immune system and lowering blood pressure.
Carbohydrates: For a steady supply of the feel good chemical, serotonin, consume complex carbs like whole grains, breads, oatmeal etc.
Vitamin C: It helps strengthen your immune system and curb stress levels. Ensure sufficient intake of foods such as oranges, lemon and the likes.
Magnesium: A deficiency in this mineral triggers headaches and fatigue leading to an increase in stress. Make sure to have sufficient green leafy vegetables especially spinach.
Omega 3 fatty acids: This essential fat can be obtained from fish and flax seeds. It helps protect against heart diseases, mood swings, depression and thus helps in preventing stress.
Nuts: A handful of nuts such as almonds, pista and walnuts helps protect us against heart diseases, lowers cholesterol, prevents inflammation in arteries and protects against effects of stress.
Raw veggies: Crunchy raw vegetables help ease stress by relieving a clenched jaw and keep tension at bay.
Everyone needs a little stress to perform well, but too much stress or tension disrupts the body’s regulation.
Apart from the diet, try getting a good night’s sleep, get musical, laugh your heart out even if you’re alone, breathe deeply, exercise and stay active.
About the author
I am Mahima Setia, a clinical nutritionist, fitness expert and a seasoned corporate banking professional. With a vision to create a difference to the service of nutrition and health consulting by marrying today’s consumer’s habits, lifestyles and needs to relevant and doable health advice – both scientific and emotional, I decided to follow my passion for Good health both personally and for the consumer at large.
Having earned advanced certifications in Nutrition and fitness studies, I have been consulting for 3 years and look forward to each day as another milestone towards better health for both me and my clients. I advise on better nutrition, weight management, incorporating physical activities in daily life, dealing with clinical conditions, mindful eating and fat loss.
Personally, I have been a national level swimmer, love to dance and read books.
“Eat healthily, sleep well, breathe deeply, and move harmoniously.”