Stress is defined as an individual’s overall response to the demands and pressures of the environment. In other words, we can define it as any situation that causes a physical or psychological imbalance that requires a person to adjust or adapt. Possible causes of stress include but are not limited to family problems, loss of a loved one, loss or change of employment, financial problems and a sedentary lifestyle. Stress has been linked to many ailments or diseases such as headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, heart attacks, asthma, colitis and even cancer. When it comes to stress, it is very important to consult your doctor and take steps
to reduce and thereby prevent the damage it can cause to the body. It is also important to understand that eating habits as
well as a person’s lifestyle are also related to the degree of stress.
Here are some tips to follow:
1. Exercise regularly. Physical activity helps to reduce and prevent the effects of stress. Be active for at least 30 minutes three times a week. Exercise produces endorphins, hormones known to combat stress. Take a walk, skate, play a sport or engage in some other physical activity that you like. 2. Eat healthy. Be consistent
with a low calorie diet made up of whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Avoid refined foods which are truly poor in nutrients. This will help protect your nervous system. 3. Avoid stimulating drinks especially coffee and alcoholic beverages. 4. Reduce or eliminate white sugars. 5. Avoid tobacco. Nicotine is a strong stimulant and is even more damaging than caffeine. 6. Get plenty of sleep. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies will be too tired to confront stressful situations. On the other hand, stress often causes us to lose sleep or not sleep well. In that case, it is better to read for a while or listen to soft music. Remember that certain foods can improve our body’s response to stress. During stressful times, increase the following foods: 1. Whole grain cereals, especially oats and wheat. 2. Oil seeds such as peanuts, almonds, cashews, etc. 3. Vegetables such as peppers, green onions, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, cauliflower, lettuce, etc. 4. Raw fruits especially strawberries, kiwi, cherries, raspberries, pineapple, melon, lime etc. 5. Nonfat yogurt Finally remember that a healthy lifestyle also requires you to set aside some time for yourself. Do something you like, plan a pleasure trip, watch a movie, go out to lunch with a friend or get involved in a volunteer activity that makes you feel good. Also, choose to respond in a balanced and quiet way when you think about your problems. Your diet and lifestyle will help you do this.