Relationship Between our Food and Stress

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

One thing that all humanity has in common – everyone experiences stress. We all know stress harms our relationships, productivity, and health. From the early 1980th, we have researches and data focused on the effects of stress on our health. While short term stress could manifest as headaches or stomach cramps, chronic stress has more serious effect. According to the National Institute of Mental Health stress can even increase your risk for conditions such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. It affects every part of your body, from your digestive and reproductive systems to your immune system. We have a branch of medicine called psychoneuroimmunology that studies the impact of our mind on our immune system. But we have the power, if not eliminate stress entirely, at least dramatically reduce stress.

Some of you may remember my blog post about Three Brains Understanding the Mind-Body connection is helpful in stress management. I want to focus on the Mind-Gut axis. Our mind and gut are intimately connected. Stress management starts in our kitchen. What we eat can affect our stress response, and our stress response can affect our digestive tract. Most of our stress hormones originate in our brain, and our gut creates neurotransmitters of happiness.

Some food could help with stress reduction, and some could escalate. According to Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, our food not only has nutritional value, but also contains information, and instrumental in balancing energy flow. Foods reach with vitamins Bs, D, A, C, and E are very beneficial in stress management. These vitamins minimize mood swings and help your body handle stress.

  • Let us start with vitamin B. Fruit and vegetables rich in vitamin B are: whole grains, brown rice, barley, millet, legumes, citrus fruits, and avocados.

  • Good sources of vitamin D are: salmon, herring, sardines, or cod liver oil. For vegans or vegetarians, a natural source of vitamin D could be mushrooms.

  • Vitamin A could be found in: sweet potato, winter squash, kale, collard greens, carrot, sweet red pepper, and spinach.

  • Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C are: citrus fruits, red bell peppers (an excellent substitute for citruses if you are watching your sugar intake), broccoli, cantaloupe, red (purple) cabbage, and kiwi.

  • Vitamin E could be found in: almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts, avocado, peanut butter, and red bell peppers.

Proper diet can counterbalance the impact of stress by stabilizing moods and strengthening the immune system. I also need to mention Mindful Eating techniques. These techniques reduce stress as well:

  • Take a couple of deep breaths before you eat.

  • Be grateful for your food.

  • Visually appreciate and enjoy the smell of your food.

  • Slow down and chew thoroughly.

  • Focus on the taste with each bite.

  • Share food with others.

Several herbs and teas (linden, green, chamomile, peppermint, lavender, and valerian root) are commonly used for a calming effect and to reduce stress-related insomnia, anxiety, or anger.

If you take supplements, tell your doctor about them. So, your doctor could check about possible interactions with medications you are taking.

Disclosure: I am not a medical doctor. This article is not medical advice. Any energy session is not a substitute for medication or treatment.

With Love and Light,

Roman Vaynshtok, RMT

May 2021

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