Eating to beat stress

24th April 2020 / Health

Eating to beat stress

Emily Shannon

We know that it’s important to eat well and exercise regularly in order to keep ourselves healthy, but as possibly the most stressed generation, do we know some of the best foods to help support our bodies across stressful periods? Here at Link Nutrition, we’re mad about bringing you the most accurate information which is exactly why we thought it was important to dedicate a whole blog to the topic! There are certain foods, more specifically, nutrients that can help to support our bodies, to help them better deal with stress, so let’s get to it!


Firstly, let’s start with why the food that we eat is so important in helping our bodies to tackle stress. If you think about it. The food that we eat gives our body the fuel it needs in order to work at its peak, in other words, as we like to say here at Link Nutrition, ‘you’ve gotta nourish to flourish’! This concept is no different for ensuring that our bodies are ready to deal with any stressful situations that we may find ourselves in! 


Stress in daily life is inevitable, whether it be meeting a deadline at work, running late for the bus or trying to tick everything off a never-ending to-do list, stress is everywhere and sadly, not going anywhere! Therefore, how we deal with these obstacles it’s really crucial. 


Balance your blood sugar

Don’t worry, this isn’t as complicated as you think it might be. Eating regularly and not skipping meals is important in the presence or absence of stress.  It helps to maintain your body's blood sugar, helps to keep your energy levels topped up (which helps to avoid any energy dips where you might want to reach for the biscuit tin for a quick fix). Eating regularly also helps to ensure we keep out micronutrients topped up - including essential B vitamins and magnesium.


Prioritise protein

Protein is essential when it comes to giving our bodies the best nutrients to combat stress. Good quality protein helps to slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream which helps to maintain balanced blood sugar levels. This helps to stop unnecessary blood sugar spikes! 


Make fibre your best friend

When it comes to supporting your body through stress - it’s important to make fibre your friend! Complex carbohydrates have a low glycemic index (or GI for short) which means that our body uses them much more efficiently. Some of our favourite complex carbs are brown rice, quinoa, lentils and oats! But why is fibre so important? Well, in a similar way to protein, fibre helps us to balance our blood sugar levels 


Eat the rainbow with every meal 

Chronic stress impairs the immune system, preventing it from doing its job. So, in order to help protect our immune system and keep our phytonutrients topped up - we need to eat the rainbow! There are some nutrients that are super important: 

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential and can be found in a wide variety of different foods - some of our favourites include red peppers, citrus fruits, tomatoes and leafy greens. Vitamin C is essential for our adrenal glands to function properly. Our adrenals are responsible for regulating our stress hormones, so it’s important to keep your vitamin C levels topped up throughout the day!

B vitamins 

We need to make sure we’re getting plenty of all the essential B vitamins - this is because they’re vital for supporting our energy-yielding metabolism. Essentially, this means that they play a key role in supporting our energy levels - this is essential to help our bodies to manage stress levels. Some of our favourite vitamin B-rich foods include leafy greens, nut, seeds and good quality meat. 

Magnesium 

Magnesium deficiency has been associated with increased anxiety, this is because magnesium plays a key role in regulating the body’s stress response system. Not only that, but magnesium is essential for the production of GABA (a key neurotransmitter) that helps to promote relaxation and as a result sleep - which can help the body to manage stress. To keep your magnesium levels topped up, including plenty of dark leafy greens, nuts and seeds and a little good quality dark chocolate. Or why not incorporate our Food Based Magnesium into your routine? 


Ditch the caffeine 

This is an important one, so let’s talk about why! Well, firstly, caffeine is actually a stimulant. This means it can cause the adrenal glands to release more stress hormones like cortisol when we don’t need them. This becomes a problem during times of increased stress and the concentrations of these hormones may already be elevated. So what does this mean? It means that we can help support our bodies but making a simple swap; why not try swapping your usual morning coffee for a green tea?


It’s not just for this reason that we should consider the simple swap. Studies have also shown that caffeine can increase nervousness and in some people anxiety - not ideal when trying to combat stress! We mentioned earlier about some of the key nutrients including B vitamins and magnesium - well caffeine can actually deplete these key nutrients. Yes, that’s right - green tea, however, has a whole host of health benefits and is actually packed with antioxidants!

 

You can find more information about stress, and the essential nutrients that help to mediate the body's response to stress in our Stress and Anxiety download here. You'll also find plenty of information about our new products Curcumin and Ashwagandha plus some delicious recipes to keep you busy during isolation, you'll also find out how you can get 20% off our full Stress & Relaxation range! If you're in need for some simple stress hacks and some top tips for keeping busy during this turbulent time, then head to our blog here.