Monitoring stress levels is an important tool in your health toolkit. Our bodies need opportunity to restore and rebalance. We can do this through incorporating specific nutrients into our daily lives.
7 ways to lower your stress through nutrition
Staying properly hydrated is vitally important to maintaining balance and supporting the body through stressful events. Water has many roles within the body including flushing toxins, cushioning bones and joints, hydrating our cells, improving oxygen delivery to cells, and transporting nutrients.
As a general rule, drink half your body weight in fluid ounces.
For example: 135lb. women x 0.5 = 67.5 fluid ounces of water per day
Incorporating this macronutrient in your diet is key as it will fuel your system from a cellular level, ensuring your body will return to balance. Hormones, nervous system messaging molecules (neurotransmitters), digestive enzymes, and energy-producing enzymes all depend on protein.
As a general guideline, consume .80 - 1.1 grams of protein per bodyweight in pounds.
For example, 135 x 1.0 = 135g protein per day
Choline has been shown to play an important role in brain health and may protect against stress. Egg yolks are the most concentrated source of choline in the American diet.
Other sources include shrimp, scallops, cod, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, swiss chard, asparagus, and spinach.
Selenium is required for the proper activity of a group of enzymes that play a key role in the body's detoxification system and protection against oxidative stress. Incorporating selenium-rich foods will protect the body against oxidative stress and ensure proper detoxification.
The best source of selenium is brazil nuts, oysters, clams, liver, and kidney.
Vitamin D regulates immune function, cell growth, and neuromuscular function. Studies suggest that vitamin D status plays an important role in supporting our bodies through acute stress.
The very best source of vitamin D is the sun, followed by nutrient-dense whole foods like salmon, eggs, and sardines.
Prized for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, recent studies have shown the spice plays an active role in treating various central nervous system disorders as well as offering a protective action against stress.
A great beverage option that utilizes turmeric is Golden Milk.
Chamomile is best known for its wonderful calming action and is used to ease tension and stress, emotional upset, nervousness, and insomnia.
Purchasing the dried, organic flowers in bulk is an easy and affordable way to always have chamomile on hand to be utilized as a tea, compress, or a lovely addition to your bath.
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2. Zeisel, Steven H, and Kerry-Ann da Costa. “Choline: an Essential Nutrient for Public Health.” Nutrition Reviews, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2009, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782876/.
3. Glenn, Melissa J, et al. “Supplemental Dietary Choline during Development Exerts Antidepressant-like Effects in Adult Female Rats.” Brain Research, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 14 Mar. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3327365/.
4. “Choline.” The World's Healthiest Foods, http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=50
5. “Selenium.” The World's Healthiest Foods, http://whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=95
6. Schiavone, Stefania, et al. “Severe Life Stress and Oxidative Stress in the Brain: from Animal Models to Human Pathology.” Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., 20 Apr. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3603496/.
7. Quraishi, Sadeq A, and Carlos A Camargo. “Vitamin D in Acute Stress and Critical Illness.” Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Nov. 2012, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3751798/.
8. Kulkarni, S K, and A Dhir. “An Overview of Curcumin in Neurological Disorders.” Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Medknow Publications, Mar. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929771/.
9. Justis, Posted ByAngela. “A Family Herb: Chamomile Flower.” Herbal Academy, 25 Jan. 2018, theherbalacademy.com/a-family-herb-chamomile-flower/.