‘Stress Is The Number One Epidemic Of Our Time, Directly Or Indirectly Responsible For Cardio Problems And Inflammation’
It is exciting as the pace of change, driven by technological advancement, continues to accelerate, impacting every aspect of our day to day lives. We can shop and bank whenever we want; work collaboratively with people all over the world; carry out in-depth research without ever leaving our homes and reach and connect with hundreds, thousands or even millions of people without spending a single $ dollar or £ pound on advertising.
However, what’s exciting and amazing on the one hand, can be overwhelming and stressful for people on an everyday basis, often leading to burnout and exhaustion.
So, as the pace grows ever faster, it’s perhaps no surprise that stress is often cited as the number one risk to health, wellbeing and longevity.
Over the next 6 weeks, we’ll be publishing specific articles on different methods and techniques to help you react better to stressful encounters
and boost your personal resilience so that you will bounce back more quickly.
Today, I am going to start the series talking about, what for me, is the foundation of good health: FOOD
What we eat has a direct impact on how we look and feel.
You are literally what you eat, as the food that you take in, once broken down, becomes the raw material for each and every cell in your body. So to build a body that is designed to cope with stressful lives, you therefore need the right ingredients.
Perhaps few of us would think about the nutritional stress we put our bodies under by living off a diet consisting of too many refined foods, sugar and caffeine including junk food, white bread, processed meat, coffee and biscuits. As I’m sure you’re aware, these types of nutritionally barren foods are going to do very little to build resilience, and instead can create their own set of problems such as increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Contrast this with a diet packed with nutrient dense whole foods, either 100% plant-based or mostly plant based and combined with the best quality animal products. Whilst no one diet will suit all of our individual needs, logic tells us that a diet rich in nutrients will support our stress levels far better than a diet based on highly processed foods and sugars.
Specific nutrition to support you better.
There are a range of foods which you can add in order to help you manage stress better.
You may have called them nutrients, or supplements – but they are also in good quality food – so let’s call them food.
Here’s a list of 5 of the key nutritional foods you should be including every day:
- Omega 3s – Studies show that Omega 3s can help protect neurons against the damage that can be caused by chronic stress. They are found in oily fish (including sardines and tuna), flaxseeds, chia seeds and cold pressed hemp oils and are good quality, highly absorbable sources of Omega 3s.
- Vitamin B-Complex. These vitamins work with brain chemistry and balance neurotransmitters. They provide a whole range of health benefits including easing stress and alleviating anxiety and depression. You can get B-vitamins from dark green, leafy vegetables, animal protein, fish, milk, eggs, peas and beans/pulses.
- Magnesium. When you’re stressed, your body gets rid of magnesium, and the lower your magnesium levels, the more reactive to stress you become. So making sure that you have enough magnesium will improve your ability to deal with stress, breaking the cycle. Raw chocolate (cacao), buckwheat, green beans, broccoli, spinach, oats, whole barley, millet, bananas, dates, almonds, brazil nuts, prawns and tuna all contain magnesium.
- Vitamins C & D. Studies show that Vitamin C helps lower both physical and psychological stress. Similarly, a deficiency in vitamin D has, amongst other things, been associated with depression. Sources of Vitamin D include 15 minutes of sun exposure on the face and arms three times per week.
- Antioxidants. Foods such as berries, apples, pecans, cherries and plums as well as garlic and onion offer the highest amounts of antioxidants, which are nutrients that bolster the immune system and protect the body against free radicals (nasties in the body caused by stress, that can be the seeds for disease).
So there we have it, five key nutrients that can help you bolster your bodies and minds to cope, and even thrive on stress.
This article is an extract from my new book now available on an easy download from Amazon.
‘Success without Stress:
How to Prevent Burnout and Build Resilience for Optimal Health & Performance’
Now available On Amazon