Incorporate These Stress-Fighting Foods Into Your Diet

Trudy Stone breaks down the 4 vital nutrients drained by stress - and how to bring them back into your diet.

There is A LOT going on in the world today which may have you feeling anxious or stressed. Most people know when they’re stressed but very few consistently take action to combat its negative effects. The first step is to ensure that your diet contains plenty of stress busting foods and these 4 key nutrients that are rapidly depleted when your emergency stress response kicks in. Certified culinary nutritionist Trudy Stone breaks down the 4 vital nutrients drained by stress.

Magnesium helps to support your muscles and joints, creates new enzymes and can actually play a role in preventing stress. Magnesium also helps to support your muscles and joints. One of the primary symptoms of having low levels of magnesium is low mood and from a mental health viewpoint, low magnesium levels are associated with depression and anxiety. Fortunately, sources of magnesium are easy to find in your diet – you can find magnesium in fruits like bananas, figs and raspberries, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale, nuts, seeds, quinoa and even dark chocolate!

Iron like magnesium is one of the most pivotal nutrients for your body. Iron deficiency is a common worldwide problem and stress can lower levels of iron in the body. Symptoms of low iron levels can be fatigue, dizziness, pale skin, brittle nails, and thin hair. Iron comes in two different forms: heme iron and non-heme iron. Meat, especially red meat, generally contains a combination of heme and non-heme iron while plant-based foods are predominantly rich in non-heme iron, which can sometimes be problematic – since it isn’t always well absorbed by your body. Consume iron-rich foods with those containing Vitamin C for best absorption. Iron rich foods include spinach, broccoli, lentils, pumpkin seeds and quinoa. Vitamin C rich foods help your body to absorb more iron, so try eating more Vitamin C food with foods containing iron. One of my fav ways to do this is by adding Vitamin C rich fruits like strawberries or kiwi to my morning green smoothie since leafy greens are a great source of iron.

Vitamin C
Similar to magnesium, vitamin C is a multi talented nutrient that’s involved with a wide variety of functions throughout your body. The adrenal glands also require vitamin C to stay healthy and manufacture the adrenal hormones that cope with stress, particularly cortisol. Vitamin C helps reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress. Vitamin C is water soluble which means that your body can’t store it efficiently for very long. Instead, your diet must do the heavy lifting when it comes to avoiding deficiencies and any associated symptoms. Food sources include citrus fruits, kiwis, blueberries, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower, tomatoes are all excellent options for boosting your consumption of vitamin C. 

B Vitamins
Finally there’s B Vitamins. B vitamins can refer to a range of B complex vitamins that can help to produce feel good neurotransmitters like serotonin, helping to enhance your mood and enabling your body to cope better in times of stress. While you may need a range of B vitamins to help your body cope with stress, chronic stress can deplete your stores of certain B vitamins and create deficiencies. If you are going through a period of stress, B vitamins should be a real priority – they’re often found in foods such as sweet potatoes, leafy greens, sunflower seeds, almonds, chicken, turkey, salmon, shellfish, garlic, cabbage, avocados, and bananas. B Vitamins are water-soluble so it’s important to get them everyday. Of all the B Vitamins Vitamin B12 can be a tough one to get through food. This where a good quality supplement comes in. B12 Food sources: Animal foods (chicken, seafood, eggs) spirulina, nori, fermented foods (tempeh, miso, kimchi, sauerkraut), brewer’s yeast.