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Diet and Nutrition and Stress

Diet and Nutrition and Stress

Following on from my blog yesterday on the importance of exercise on stress, on a basic level food is needed for survival. It contains the nutrients that support bodily functions, the 6 basic being:-

• Carbohydrates – provide and supply energy
• Proteins – build and repair body tissue
• Fats – stores and releases energy as we need it
Vitamins & mineral – regulate a number of bodily
• Water – makes up 79% of the total body

For stress vitamin b is good, especially vitamins B12 & B6, it helps the nervous system. Water transports chemicals and heat around the body and is responsible for the efficient functioning of the elimination processes, i.e. excretion of waste products. We can live for up to 50 days without food, but only 5 days without water. Everyday we lose 5 pints of water through bodily functions.

Sufficient calories are needed to provide energy for coping with stresses of everyday life. Feeling tired all the time is generally the results of skipping meals, going on crash diets or simply under eating. The amount of calories varies from person, according to body size, but a balanced diet is essential. If sufficient calories are not maintained then the body is automatically placed in a stressful situation and will engage the stress response subconsciously. Over consumption of calories results in being overweight, this also putsstress on the body.

Irregular and inconsistent eating habits put a strain on the body as well. Regular mealtimes should be established so the body becomes accustomed to the ebbs and flows of blood sugarrising after food and then gradually falling. Our bodies have a good memory of time and if that is not respected, a strain is placed on the system. If the body does not know when it is getting the food it becomes unconsciously stressed. If we do not eat regularly the only way blood sugar can be raised is by glycogen in the liver. And what happens is that when this is released it produces the same effect as the fight or flight, and people get irritable or argumentative. So that’s why mornings and shifts are bad!!!

So late afternoon we start to flag, have a cup of coffee, tea or a soft drink that all contain caffeine. It forces the liver to produce the same energy as the fight or flight. It puts pressure on
the body as it acts as a shock treatment. It slows down digestion, repair and maintenance so as to have the resources to deal with stress. It is the same as sugary foods; they all contain calories, but no nutrients to provide energy. What is needed for the maintainenance of the body is a combination of Carbohydrates, Proteins Fats, Vitamins, minerals and Water. Found in vegetables, fruit, bread, cheese, liver etc…the list is endless.

Based on what we have talked about, there are guidelines to building stress resistance.

Eat a balanced regular diet with sufficient calories, vitamins
and minerals.
Top up with supplements from health food shops.
Minimize the following in response to stress:
Under or over eating
Excess alcohol – no more than one or two a day
Avoid ‘ sugar hits’
Excess caffeine – no more than one or two cups a day
Follow simple principles:
Low salt – less than 6gms a day
Low fat
Low cholesterol
At least 50% of the total intake of carbohydrates
High fibre 20-39gms a day
Drink at least 6 – glasses of water a day.

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