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Nutrition News: Feeling Stressed?

Charlyn Fargo on

Are you feeling stressed as you try to navigate this time of unknown and big changes to your normal routine?

You're not alone.

For many of us, that means turning to comfort foods. A friend recently joked she had gained not the freshman 15 but the COVID 19.

Are there foods than can reduce stress?

Our bodies automatically release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol when we feel anxious or stressed. Those hormones trigger the "fight or flight" response, which gets our bodies ready for action. Have you felt your heart beating more rapidly or your blood pressure rising over something seemingly small? Being in a chronic state of stress can cause long-term health problems, affect our sleep and even result in digestive issues, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

While there isn't definitive research linking stress management and certain nutrients, eating a healthy diet makes a difference. Several nutrients have been shown to help our brain function normally -- foods high in antioxidants and B vitamins. (It turns out we are what we think -- and eat. And thinking right can help reduce stress.)

 

To help with stress, concentrate on a healthy diet with extra fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. In addition, make sure you're getting enough vitamin D. Studies have shown that increased intake of vitamin D can ease stress. Vitamin D is in fortified foods such as milk, fatty fish like salmon, soy products, some yogurt and some mushrooms (check the label of yogurt and fresh mushrooms to see if they have vitamin D).

The bottom line? Choose a balanced, healthy eating plan, and take time for physical activity. Even five minutes of exercise a day can be beneficial.

Q and A

Q: Is tea healthier for you than coffee?

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