Stress & The Body: Techniques To Manage Stress Through Diet & Lifestyle

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Take a look at what our Food & Nutrition Coach, Karola Schulz has to say about the relationship between stress & the body.

“As a Nutritionist, I see this a lot when speaking to clients during a consultation. Whether that be the pressure of life, relationships, work, study the list goes on. The impact stress has on the body is so important to creating a healthy balanced lifestyle. If we define stress it can be said that it is anything that requires us as humans to adapt and create change to our habits, lifestyle, thought process and routines can be considered as stress. It is crucial to understand what stress does to the body and some ways that dietary and lifestyle interventions can be effective in management of stress.

Our brain is our first part of the body to respond to stress, which it does in two ways. First response is the release of our stress hormones, which results in rapid heart rate, raised blood pressure and increased blood flow to the brain and the muscles. Second response, release of cortisol, which in excess amounts lead to weight gain, suppressing our immune via allowing bacteria and viruses to grow, impairing brain function and memory in what develops into prolonged or chronic stress. Stress has also been linked to the following conditions:

  • Increased depression and anxiety
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Insomnia
  • Gastric reflux
  • Infertility

So, what can we do to help manage stress through diet and lifestyle?

Lifestyle:

  • Relaxation techniques, take 5-10 minutes every day to help focus on your body and clear your mind using some breathing exercises to bring awareness to your mind and body.
  • Yoga or meditation classes, these are a great way to keep active and a fantastic stress reliever
  • Find a balance of regular exercise through your week and try not to over exercise
  • Eat nutritious food and enjoy your food creating a balance in your diet
  • Rest and sleep, ensure you are getting enough quality sleep regularly
  • Find a balance between work life and social life to enjoy with friends and family

Dietary interventions:

  • Avoid excessive stimulants, such as caffeine and refined sugars
  • Alcohol
  • High GI foods, eat more low GI carbohydrates and keep high GI to a minimum
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fresh fruit, aim to eat a rainbow of colored vegetables every day- this will give you a range of minerals and vitamins to help support body and mind
  • Choose good lean sources of protein, chicken, eggs, lean meat and fish
  • Eat fatty fish up to twice a week, sardines, tuna, salmon, mackerel, cod are deep water fish and contain high levels of omega 3 which helps support our brain function

So, here’s a start, incorporate fish 2-3 times a week to support our brain function. Eat a range of fresh and seasonal coloured vegetables and fruits every day. Limit stimulants in excessive amounts, incorporate regular exercise and mindful yoga and meditation to help reduce stress in daily life.”

Karola Schulz,
Food/Nutrition Coach
In Partnership with One55 Health & Fitness

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