How to Manage Stress Through Diet
Stress affects us all, and we can take our power back by choosing healthy ways to manage it. Our daily nutrient intake can help our body handle stress more harmoniously. In today’s blog, we're reviewing essential nutrients that help combat stress.
A Little Bit About Stress
Our body doesn’t know the difference between stress we’ve made up in our heads (such as anxiety about the future or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) or stress occurring in real-time. Regardless of the stress source, when stress strikes, your hypothalamus in the brain sets off an alarm to the adrenals to release cortisol and adrenaline into our bloodstream to constrict your blood vessels and in an attempt to increase oxygen, blood sugar, and blood around the body. This helps us shift into our fight and flight mode. Our fight or flight reaction is helpful when we need to make a quick reaction, but when someone experiences chronic stress, over time, high levels of cortisol and adrenaline can cause anxiety, restlessness, depression, decreased immunity, digestive issues, and reproductive problems.
Foods and Nutrients to Tackle Stress
Matcha is a rich source of amino acid L-theanine. Brewed black tea and green tea are other fantastic sources, but matcha contains the entire leaf ground into a powder giving it even more L-theanine power. Research shows this amino acid can help reduce stress and anxiety.
Even those with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder have benefited from L-theanine’s ability to reduce disorder symptoms and anxiety.
Try sipping a cup of matcha or black tea to enjoy the benefits. You can also find L-theanine in Designer Wellness’s Stress Support Gummies designed to help the body handle stress.
Chamomile is a sacred medicinal flower with terpenoids and flavonoids that have been shown to help alleviate anxiety and depression while promoting restful sleep. Chamomile has even been shown effective in assisting in reducing the symptoms of postpartum depression.
You can enjoy chamomile as a hot glass of tea, ground and put into baked goods, or in our Designer Wellness’s Stress Support Gummies.
Lemon balm is a medicinal herb used since the Middle Ages. It contains a plant compound called rosmarinic acid that has been shown to help reduce stress, anxiety, inflammation and ease indigestion.
You can find lemon balm as a tea, lotion, and in our Designer Wellness’s Stress Support Gummies.
The famous sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D, has been shown in clinical research to decrease anxiety, stress, and inflammation.
Vitamin D is made from cholesterol in the skin when it is exposed to light. Getting vitamin D can be as simple as basking in the sun for 10-30 minutes daily. Some people may be better at making vitamin D than others, depending on skin tone and genetics. An estimated 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. We can also get vitamin D from eating whole milk, fortified foods, egg yolks, salmon, and sardines. To help you meet the gap in your daily vitamin D intake, try incorporating Designer Wellness Stress Support Gummies, two scoops of Designer Whey, and two scoops of Designer Soy into your day.
Low magnesium levels are strongly associated with stress and panic attacks. Low magnesium can further impact stress by causing chronic fatigue, headaches, and fibromyalgia.
Magnesium works to combat stress by binding to the brain's gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor. These receptors inhibit nerve impulses in the brain, causing a stress reduction. Prescription medications called benzodiazepines (known as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin) bind to the same receptors as GABA, thus mimicking GABA’s calming effect. Making sure you’re getting enough magnesium is imperative to helping your body manage stress and prevent the overuse of pharmaceuticals that may have side effects.
Excellent sources of magnesium include pumpkin seeds, spinach, cashews, and almonds. Designer Wellness helps boost your GABA-loving magnesium levels by including magnesium in our Designer Wellness Mood Gummies, Designer Plant Meal Replacement, and Designer Whey.
Your brain is 60% fat. The type of fats you eat can impact your mental and physical health. High intakes of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with reduced depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms.
Excellent sources of omega-3 healthy fats include salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil, oysters, sardines, anchovies, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, and soybeans.
Pro and prebiotics
Prebiotics are fibers that feed your healthy gut bacteria. Specific prebiotics called fructooligosaccharide and galactooligosaccharide has improved anxiety and depression symptoms. Probiotic bifidobacteria strains have been shown to improve depression, anxiety, or stress symptoms in those predisposed to these conditions.
Sources of fructooligosaccharide include garlic, onions, leeks, chicory root, and asparagus. You can find galactooligosaccharides in dairy and beans. Bifidobacteria can be found in yogurt, kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, Designer Whey, and Designer Plant Meal Replacement.
Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen known in herbal medicine to help combat stress. It is sometimes referred to as the “royal herb” or “Ayurvedic ginseng.” Ashwagandha improves the body's defense against disease by decreasing cortisol levels and enhancing cell-mediated immunity while providing potent antioxidants that help protect against cell damage caused by free radicals.
You can buy ashwagandha in powder form and add it to baked goods. Designer Wellness Stress Support Gummies contain ashwagandha root extract 30:1, providing a potent stress reliever.
Take your control back over stress by enhancing your diet with the stress-fighting foods above and Mood and Stress Designer Gummies. Check below for a simple stress-fighting sample menu.
Sample Stress Fighting Menu
Designer Whey protein shake with spinach, blueberries, flaxseeds, and milk
Apple and almonds
Bean and cheese burrito on whole wheat high fiber tortilla containing chicory root
Green Salad with olive oil
Chia seed pudding with strawberries
Matcha tea with almond milk
Salmon with asparagus and sweet potato
Night time snack
Pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate
By Ginger Cochran, MS, RDN, CDCES, CEP
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