Stress getting you down and out? Well, everyone seems to be in the same boat these days, so welcome to the club.
After all there have been enough unexpected, and never ending stressors that the universe has been hurling at us relentlessly for the last 2 years.
And this is of course in addition to the regular every day, unavoidable tensions that we are expected to manage anyway.
Small wonder then that jumpiness, edginess, anxiety, the shakes and jim-jams today seem like a permanent appendage, a peripheral affix we can't seem to be able to shake off, but one that is eating us up from inside, weakening us every day.
While we cannot always eliminate the stress from a situation, specially those not in our control (and they all seem like that, don’t they), it is important to learn how to manage them better.
After all, it’s a no-brainer that being unprepared or feeling unhappy about the situation only increases the anxiety, and thus the damage it can cause to the body.
Meditation, and other interventions like changing our reaction to the stressors, and keeping a positive attitude all help, but one underrated way to significantly bring down the damage that continuous stress can cause is by ensuring eating enough of stress and anxiety beating nutrients everyday.
After all, if stress is relentless, our diet should be geared to tackle it too, right?
10 nutrients that help big time are:
Vitamin C is an extremely important nutrient for the brain’s blood vessels, nerve cells, neurotransmitters.
Plus it is linked to the production of stress hormones in our adrenal glands. That is why people who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued or depressed.
Get it: from guavas, amla, strawberries, kiwi and citrus fruits like oranges and lemon.
B Group of Vitamins
B group of vitamins are essential for getting our mind and body back into gear.
They - the entire spectrum - Thiamine (B1), Niacin (B3), Choline (B4), Pyridoxine (B6), Folic acid (B9) and Cobalamin (B12) work together and are vital for our happiness and mental health.
All B vitamins work differently, but collectively they are vital for a healthy metabolism and energy production in the body, a prerequisite for feeling on top of the game, less fatigued and more upbeat.
For example vitamin B1, or thiamine promotes brain and nervous system health, and folate (B9) and B6, pyridoxin helps regulate mood by helping the body make the happiness hormones serotonin and norepinephrine.
Get it: eat enough of lentils, peas, dark green vegetables, citrus fruits, eggs, sunflower seeds, pistachios, prunes, bananas and low fat dairy to get them all.
Magnesium is a trace mineral that is needed in small quantities in the diet, but as it is the second most abundant intracellular electrolyte in the body, it is essential for good health.
Plus it’s also required for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body, all of which stop happening if we are deficient in this mineral. In fact, it’s one of the most important mineral for preventing adrenal fatigue.
Get it: dark leafy greens, nuts (cashews and almonds), seeds (pumpkin, sesame), beans (including edamame), lentils, fish (mackerel), whole grains (brown rice), bananas, dried figs, and dark chocolate.
Omega-3 is a wonder nutrient, It’s known for its ability to fight off inflammation in the brain, as is said to be able to help with depression.
Get it: from flax seeds, walnuts and fatty fish in your diet.
Glutamine (Amino Acid)
Increase intake of the glutamine (amino acid) consumption in your diet; it has the ability to heal soft tissue like the lining of your intestines.
Get it: from spirulina, tofu, spinach, chicken, cabbage and beans.
Score enough vitamin D. Sunlight is every bit as essential to our well-being as proper nutrition and exercise.
That’s because our bodies make Vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight, and D responsible for neuronal growth has a positive effect on our mood.
Get it: spend 30 minutes in sun every day.
Make friends with tryptophan. There is a clear food-mood connection, and amino acid tryptophan - it makes you happy.
Basically this amino acid helps to synthesise serotonin, a chemical messenger that acts as a mood stabiliser and keeps us in a good mood.
Get it: from eggs, cheese, pineapple, salmon, tofu, nuts and seeds.
Get enough curcumin. It helps lift levels of the neurochemicals: norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin - and make us a happier as a result..
Get it: turmeric delivers curcumin so sip it as an infused tea, or sprinkle liberally onto culinary dishes daily.
Score selenium. The preferential retention of selenium in the brain during its deficiency suggests it is important for brain function, and selenium deficiency has been linked to poor mood too, so keep an eye out for this one.
Get it: get your daily dose by eating Brazil nut, tuna sandwiches, sunflower seeds, and wholegrain cereals.
Focus on zinc as its influence on mood is very well known.
Zinc helps modulate brain functions like appetite, sleep, cognitive function and our mood. Its deficiency is very common, so make sure you get enough of it.
Get it: from pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts,
seafood, poultry, eggs nuts, whole grains, tofu and legumes.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Don't Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People.)