Eating to Relieve Stress

Eating to Relieve Stress

Maintaining stable blood sugar control is crucial in determining how well you cope with stress. When blood sugar drops, your fuel-deprived brain interprets it as stress and reacts accordingly – thus taxing your response system, the adrenal glands and nervous system. Choose foods that will not spike glucose and insulin levels and help balance levels in the blood.

• Choose more vegetables

• Choose low glycemic-index fruits

• Add protein and fiber to slow the absorption of sugar into the blood

• Choose minimally processed, unrefined carbohydrate sources

Nutrients that tame a frazzled nervous system and help relieve stress

• Magnesium and calcium help relax tense muscles: Broccoli, kale, Swiss chard, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds

• Vitamin B5 and B6 help support adrenal function: Spinach, sunflower seeds, summer squash, bell peppers, avocado, sweet potato, mushrooms

• Vitamin C helps support a healthy immune system that may become compromised by chronic stress: Kiwi, oranges, lemon, strawberries, red bell pepper, kale, broccoli

• Protein, riboflavin, and choline support your pituitary gland’s ability to respond to stress: Almonds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, nut butter, crimini mushrooms, soybeans, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, cauliflower

• Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, improve mental clarity and focus – often symptoms of adrenal fatigue: Avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts

• The amino acid tyrosine may be used to support the adrenal glands and thyroid function during times of stress: Spirulina, turnip greens, fish

Adaptogens are herbs that help your body adapt and resist stress by supporting proper adrenal response. These not only help delay or minimize adrenal fatigue, but also can be used in the recovery from damage caused by intense prolonged stress. Please discuss any alternative herbal therapies with a responsible health practitioner prior to use.

• Licorice root (spares adrenal glands by extending the action of cortisol; do not use if pregnant or breast feeding; long-term use may increase blood pressure)

• Korean ginseng (better for adrenal fatigue vs. acute stress)

• Siberian ginseng (best for recovery from adrenal fatigue)

• Maca root (best when stress has resulted in low estrogen or testosterone)

• Rhodiola (best for mental and emotional stress)

• Ashwagandha (a.k.a. Indian ginseng; has a mild sedative and calming action good for acute stress)

• Dan shen (similar to the ginsengs, but without any stimulating properties; strengthens digestion and immunity)

Registered Dietitian

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