Eat to beat stress. Is food related to stress?
Well, it´s actually a two-way street. You can stress your body from food and modern living or you can use nutrition to alleviate the damage from stressful living.
Eating in general causes a state that is known as oxidative stress. When we digest our food we form compound molecules called free radicals, these molecules may be harmful to DNA, protein and lipids in our bodies, which at the same time contribute to a state of physiological stress and premature aging.
Nutritional stress is a type of physical stress, more common for 21st century men and women because of the rapid change in the food industry and consumption of over processed filled foods. Our body in an effort to assimilate and metabolize foods filled with harmful artificial flavorings, colorings and additives causes the release of even more free radicals and additional oxidative stress. We also live at such a high pace that we half chew our foods while on the run adding strain to our digestive system.
Are we filling up with toxins, sugary, fat, and chemically loaded food and then expecting it to cope without any complaints?
If we are not properly nourished, we will not have the tools required to fight off diseases. Nutrition is essential to life, without it our systems can fail, starting with a weak immune system that cannot fight invaders leaving us susceptible to infections, diseases and even to overweight and obesity. Stress also has an additional effect on the immune system. A person who is stressed may engage in unhealthy behaviors to cope and try to reduce stress like drinking, smoking or eating comfort, but nutrient void foods. Stress is linked to many different ailments, such as, headaches, infectious illnesses, cardiovascular disease, chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer, asthma, gastric ulcers, you name it!
If we live off of junk food, skip meals, have an unbalanced diet and lead a sedentary lifestyle, it will most likely weaken the immune system and increase its demand for nutrients, further cascading into getting weaker. A poor immune performance can get the best of us!
On the other hand, a healthy diet can be the turning point from vicious cycles and crucial in our ability to cope with stress. Balanced nutrition from fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, lean protein, and low fat dairy can provide the right amount of carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals we need for energy, mental health and even emotional stability. Once we boost our immune system, it will protect us against disease, help fight off oxidative stress and its free radicals and even act as an anti-aging agent. Adequate nutrition will keep you focused and alert, filled with energy and healthy even during stressful times.
Life is about events we cannot control that can lead to stress and have our bodies under attack. We can sit around and let this happen or we can take control of what we put inside our bodies and let the power of nutrients do their “magic” into helping our organs and systems perform at their best and find health.
Our everyday diet and nutrition choices have a direct impact on our levels of stress so why not give nutrition a chance and eat to beat stress?
To a healthy, productive and happy life.
Publications, H. (2015). How to boost your immune system – Harvard Health. Harvard Health. Retrieved 17 April 2015, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
Segerstrom, S., & Miller, G. (2004). Psychological Stress and the Human Immune System: A Meta-Analytic Study of 30 Years of Inquiry. Psychological Bulletin, 130(4), 601-630. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.130.4.601
Uhs.uga.edu,. (2015). University Health Center | Stress Management | Nutrition. Retrieved 17 April 2015, from https://www.uhs.uga.edu/stress/nutrition.html
McLeod, S. (2015). Stress, Illness and the Immune System | Simply Psychology. Simplypsychology.org. Retrieved 17 April 2015, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html
Helpguide.org,. (2015). Stress Symptoms, Signs, & Causes: The Effects of Stress Overload and What You Can Do About It. Retrieved 17 April 2015, from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-symptoms-causes-and-effects.htm
DJ, B. (2015). What is oxidative stress? – PubMed – NCBI. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 17 April 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10693912