Anti-Stress Nutrition - How to Use Food to Stress Proof Your Family

Are you looking for anti-stress nutrition for your family? There are many foods which can relieve stress and help you, your partner and your children to feel good and full of energy. Stress relief foods contain the vitamins B, C and E. And the minerals magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc all play a role in reducing stress.

Stress Relief Foods

If you suffer from stress, eating foods that contain good levels of these vitamins and minerals will help:

Fresh vegetables - green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, peppers (all colours), peas, beetroot, broccoli, carrots

Fruits - cantaloupe melon, citrus fruits, strawberries, figs, apples

Nuts and Seeds – pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, almond, brazil, cashew, hazelnut, walnut, etc.

Whole grains – wholewheat, spelt, wheatgerm, oats, brown rice, barley, yellow corn, millet and quinoa

Proteins – (in moderate quantities) eggs, milk, liver, kidney, chicken, tuna, lamb, oily fish.

Other foods – blackstrap molasses, brewer’s yeast, mustard, turmeric

Eating a diet high in fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains provides important anti-stress nutrition. It will give your family many of the vitamins and minerals they need. It will also provide them with the co-factors they need to absorb these vitamins and minerals. Your family will also be getting plenty of fibre in their diet. This means that the digestive problems often caused by stress, such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and stomach cramps, are much less likely to occur.

Another way that these foods benefit all the members of your family is that they stimulate the brain’s production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps you to feel relaxed and happy. Serotonin is produced from an amino acid called L-Tryptophan which occurs naturally in vegetables and carbohydrates. Bodies, young and old, can absorb them well from these foods (better than they can from strong proteins such as meat).

Foods which have an alkalising effect on the body are an important part of your family's anti-stress nutrition programme. Try foods such as sprouted pulses and grains, yoghurt (dairy or soya), almonds and millet, as well as all fruits and vegetables. These will help to reduce the acidity that stress causes in the body. Yoghurt also contains good gut flora which helps with a maintaining comfortable digestion.

It is a good idea to mix good quality protein and carbs together. This helps to prevent surges in blood sugar because the protein slows down the digestion of the carbohydrate. So if you have a piece of toast you could have some nut butter or some cheese with it. If you have pasta include some cream cheese or a sauce containing some chicken, fish or beans. You want to aim to keep your blood sugar balanced because swings in blood sugar can cause tiredness, dizziness, feeling depressed and/or angry. None of these leads to feeling stress-free and tired, angry children are not fun to be with. Nor are tired, angry parents for that matter!

Oily fish, hemp seeds, flax seeds, sunflower seeds and other foods containing omega fatty acids also provide anti-stress nutrition. They help to protect your bodies, and especially the heart, from the effects of stress.

Concentrating on foods that keep your family healthy is really important for maintaining low stress levels, especially these days, when foods that really aren't helpful to the body or mind, such as sugar, saturated fat and refined carbs are so attractive to our tongues. Taking food with you when you go out that you have made at home will help to avoid those hungry moments when all that is available is rubbish food from snack bars.

Of course, the odd ice cream or other treat is important to children and won't do any harm, as long as the bulk of their diet is made up of nutritionally dense foods.

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