Natural Stress Relief: Food and Supplements

A good diet plays a vital role in stress reduction.

| March/April 2000

The use of foods and supplements to help relieve stress is controversial. Your local vitamin aisle undoubtedly stocks several “stress formulas.” They don’t impress registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer, author of Food and Mood (Holt, 1999): “Avoid ‘stress formulas.’ They often contain large amounts of randomly formulated nutrients such as the B vitamins and little or nothing else. At best, these products are a waste of money. At worst, their unbalanced formulations can impair your ability to cope with stress.”

1. Target basic nutrition. In lieu of these stress formulas, Somer recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and a daily mulitvitamin-and-mineral formula.

2. Sample some carbs. Try some crackers, a bagel, or pasta salad. High-carbohydrate foods stimulate the release of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that promote relaxation, Cooper explains.

3. Go decaffeinated. You may be surprised at the role caffeine plays in your reactions to stress. If your fuse is short, consider weaning yourself from the caffeinated herbs: coffee, tea, maté, kola, and guarana. Don’t quit caffeinated beverages, particularly coffee, cold turkey, or you may experience several days of headache and constipation. Instead, taper off caffeine slowly. Add a little decaf to regular coffee, and over several weeks change the mix until you’re drinking all decaf. Also consider switching from regular colas to caffeine-free. (Cocoa and chocolate contain caffeine, but small amounts. If you’re very sensitive to caffeine, consider eliminating them both.)

Click here for the original article, Natural Stress Relief.

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