Vitamins and minerals can help cope with stress

Daily Press

Knowing that stress is acknowledged to be causal or contributory in 90 to 95 percent of all disease, it is important to do whatever we can to lessen the effects of stress on our bodies.

Stress and food are related. A nutritional deficit can cause the body stress. However, eating a balanced diet with the right vitamins and minerals helps to fight illnesses and helps us to face everyday stress and pressures.

Magnesium is the most critical mineral of all for coping with stress. Stress-related diseases, like heart attacks and high blood pressure, are often accompanied by magnesium deficiency. Have your doctor check your magnesium level.

It is best to have your vitamin D3 level checked regularly and take supplements if necessary. Increasingly, research is revealing the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.

The vitamin B group protects the nervous system and soothes the body and mind, combating anxiety, irritability, tension and insomnia. B5 is essential for fighting chronic stress and vitamin B6 aids in the function of a healthy nervous system which, when unbalanced, can produce nervousness, depression, insomnia, mental confusion and irritability, all common symptoms of stress. Combined with B12, it induces our brain’s serotonin secretion, which helps us to calm our nerves and anxiety. The vitamin B group can be found in foods like, yeast, wheat germ, dried fruits, beans, broccoli, sunflower seeds, lentils, peanuts, nuts and many other foods.

The level of vitamin C decreases in your body when it is under a lot of stress; it’s important when you are stressed out to eat vitamin C-rich foods. Vitamin C strengthens our immune system, which our body’s hormones attack when under stress. This vitamin can be found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly in citrus fruits, strawberries, kiwis, guavas, currants, oranges, tomatoes and red pepper.

An acidic system stresses your body. Try this alkaline cocktail, a perfect drink to sooth your nerves. For one cup, peal one orange and one grapefruit, without peeling the white parts of the skin. Cut into slices and blend them with the juice from a lemon.

Adding turmeric, which is loaded with curcumin, into meals can help you beat stress, sleep better and fight off infection.

Recent research that has shown people who intake between 100 I.U. and 400 I.U. of vitamin E are less likely to develop heart disease and their immune systems are stronger. Vitamin E is mostly found in raw vegetable oils, dried fruits, avocado and wheat germ.

We’ve all heard of warm milk’s magical ability to send us off to dreamland because dairy foods contain tryptophan, which is a sleep-promoting substance. Other foods that are high in tryptophan include nuts and seeds, bananas, honey and eggs.

Indulge your craving for carbs before bedtime (not sugar). Oatmeal is one of the best cereals to lower stress. Eating carbohydrates before bedtime can help with sleep, so a few perfect late night snacks to get you snoozing might include a bowl of cereal and milk, yogurt and crackers, or bread and cheese.

Remember that avoiding sugar and getting enough rest are two of the healthiest things you can do for your body to help you avoid stress.


By Pat Farrell
For the Daily Press