In the hustle and bustle of life, stress has become inevitable for many!

We continuously have to face challenges and over time, stress can impact health and well-being profoundly, affecting aspects of our everyday lives, from the loss of concentration to mood swings, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.

One thing that can help us combat and manage our stress levels is through nutrition. What we eat plays a crucial role in how our bodies and minds respond to stress. While it’s normal for our bodies to require more nutrients during stressful periods, it becomes imperative to nourish ourselves adequately to support our resilience and overall well-being.

Fuelling Your Body for Resilience

  • Aim to Achieve Your 5-A-Day

During times of stress, our bodies use nutrients at a faster rate. Therefore, prioritising a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, aiming for your 30 plant points a week ensures you have a varied diet with adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Particularly beneficial are foods high in Vitamin B, C, and Magnesium, which play crucial roles in supporting our nervous system and combating the effects of stress.

  • Opt for Complex Carbohydrates

Choosing wholegrain varieties such as bread, pasta, oats, and brown rice not only provides sustained energy but also promotes the production of serotonin, the “feel-good hormone.” By stabilising blood sugar levels and enhancing mood, complex carbohydrates can help against stress-induced fluctuations.

  • Consume More Omega-3 & Omega-6 Fatty Acids

Incorporating omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids into our diet can help relieve the physiological and psychological effects of stress. Oily fish, nuts, and seeds are excellent sources of these essential fatty acids, known for their anti-inflammatory properties and mood-stabilising effects.

  • Choose Healthy Snacks for Sustained Energy

In moments of stress, the temptation to reach for quick-fix snacks laden with salt, sugar, and fat can be overwhelming. However, choosing healthier alternatives such as fruits, vegetable sticks, nuts, seeds, and yoghurt provides sustained energy without the subsequent sugar crashes, helping to keep blood sugar levels stable and energy levels consistent.

Other Strategies for Stress Awareness and Management

  • Regular Exercise

Regular physical activity not only helps reduce the impact of stress but also promotes the release of endorphins another “feel-good” hormone. Even simple activities like walking can have profound benefits for both physical and mental health such as taking the stairs instead of the lift at work.

  • Self-Care and Relaxation Techniques

Try to find moments for relaxation and self-care during periods of stress. Whether it’s indulging in a favourite hobby, practicing mindfulness, or enjoying a soothing bath, prioritising moments of calm can help us press that reset button.

  • Seek Support

Don’t hesitate to lean on your support network during times of stress. Whether it’s confiding in friends, seeking guidance from colleagues, or reaching out to family members, sharing your burdens can lighten the load and provide valuable perspective and support.

  • Prioritise Sleep

Establishing a regular sleep routine and aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night is essential for stress management and overall health. It’s also important to prioritise sleep hygiene and create a sleep-friendly environment for restful sleep to help with mood regulation and cognitive function.

While stress may be an unavoidable aspect of life, its impact can be eased through nutrition and other self-care practices. By prioritising nutrition, our bodies and minds with wholesome foods, fostering supportive relationships, and prioritising self-care, we enable ourselves to navigate life’s challenges.

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