Stress – The Link Between Stress And Diet

January 14, 2007 by  
Filed under STRESS

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By Donald Saunders

Over the years there have been many studies into the benefits of good nutrition and, like many things in life, these studies often contradict one another leaving us wondering where the truth really lies. In general however there is agreement that a healthy and balanced diet does have an important role to play in reducing stress.

There is also general agreement that, where a diet is not particularly well balanced, supplements can be helpful. For example, serotonin is a chemical produced in the brain which helps to induce calm and, in the case of a poor diet, taking a supplement which helps the brain to produce serotonin can assist the body in combating stress.

Timing is however important and, as serotonin levels are often naturally higher in the morning and lower in the late afternoon, you can help your body by either by taking supplements in the afternoon or by enjoying a late afternoon snack which will aid the body’s production of serotonin. Try a baked potato or some pretzels, both of which are low in fat but healthy.

For some people excessive eating, especially of high fat foods, is the answer to stress. However, high fat foods tend to slow down or inhibit serotonin levels and so often have just the opposite effect to the one you want.

Another side effect of excessive eating is also that of weight gain and, as an increasing number of people are discovering nowadays, being overweight is a sure route to stress and even depression. The answer therefore is both a sensible and balanced diet, combined with a reasonable amount of exercise.

Eating sensibly and exercising will have the double benefits of both reducing the production of stress-inducing chemicals within the body and of improving the way you look and feel, which will certainly lift your mood and provide a sound barrier to stress.

One other thing to watch out for is the habit of skipping meals. When you are stressed you’ll often find that this depresses your appetite and it’s very easy to start missing meals. Stressed or not, try to set yourself a regular routine when it comes to mealtimes and stick to it.

Also, try to make mealtimes a ‘break’ in your day and leave your problems on one side while you’re eating. Use this as a time, specifically set aside to relax and to focus your attention on the good things in life. You’ll invariable find that when you get up you’re your meal the world will be a lot calmer.

For more information about stress, including such things as stress symptoms and stress relief, please visit

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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