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 theÂ nutrients that support bodily functions, the 6 basic being:-
â¢ Carbohydrates â provide and supply energy
â¢ Proteins – build and repair body tissue
â¢ Fats â stores and releases energy as we need it
Vitamins & mineral â regulate a number of bodily
â¢ Water â makes up 79% of the total body
For stress vitamin b is good, especially vitamins B12 & B6, it helpsÂ the nervous system.Â Water transports chemicals and heat around the body and isÂ responsible for the efficient functioning of the eliminationÂ processes, i.e. excretion of waste products. We can live for up toÂ 50 days without food, but only 5 days without water. Everyday weÂ lose 5 pints of water through bodily functions.
Sufficient calories are needed to provide energy for copingÂ with stresses of everyday life. Feeling tired all the time is generallyÂ the results of skipping meals, going on crash diets or simply underÂ eating. The amount of calories varies from person, according toÂ body size, but a balanced diet is essential. If sufficient calories areÂ not maintained then the body is automatically placed in a stressfulÂ situation and will engage the stress response subconsciously. OverÂ consumption of calories results in being overweight, this also putsstress on the body.
Irregular and inconsistent eating habits put a strain on theÂ body as well. Regular mealtimes should be established so theÂ body becomes accustomed to the ebbs and flows of blood sugarrisingÂ after food and then gradually falling. Our bodies have aÂ good memory of time and if that is not respected, a strain isÂ placed on the system. If the body does not know when it is gettingÂ the food it becomes unconsciously stressed. If we do not eatÂ regularly the only way blood sugar can be raised is by glycogen inÂ the liver. And what happens is that when this is released itÂ produces the same effect as the fight or flight, and people getÂ irritable or argumentative. So thatâs why mornings and shifts are bad!!!
So late afternoon we start to flag, have a cup of coffee, teaÂ or a soft drink that all contain caffeine. It forces the liver toÂ 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,Â repair and maintenance so as to have the resources to deal withÂ stress.Â It is the same as sugary foods; they all contain calories, butÂ no nutrients to provide energy. What is needed for theÂ maintainenance of the body is a combination of Carbohydrates,Â Proteins Fats, Vitamins, minerals and Water. Found in vegetables, fruit, bread, cheese, liver etcâ¦the list is endless.
Based on what we have talked about, there are guidelines toÂ building stress resistance.
Eat a balanced regular diet with sufficient calories, vitamins
Top up with supplements from health food shops.
Minimize the following in response to stress:
Under or over eating
Excess alcohol â no more than one or two a day
Avoid â sugar hitsâ
Excess caffeine â no more than one or two cups a day
Follow simple principles:
Low salt â less than 6gms a day
At least 50% of the total intake of carbohydrates
High fibre 20-39gms a day
Drink at least 6 â glasses of water a day.