179013608Statistics from a recent research study found that nearly one quarter of the population suffers from recurring states of panic and nearly 1/3 of parents experience “extreme” stress levels. During certain times of the year (ahem–tax season!) stress levels are only intensified due to too much work and responsibility. The good news is that by eating the right foods, a lot of the stress you may be feeling will be greatly lessened.

Here’s a few of our favorite tips!

Take your vitamins. Under stress, the body can lose valuable stores of important vitamins, minerals and/or amino acids. Certain foods rich in these nutrients may help to keep your system strong under stress and possibly offset the damage that stress can cause. One thing that you can do is take a daily multivitamin and mineral to cover your basics. Nutritional deficiencies can show up in a number of ways, so we like the idea of a daily multiple as one part of your preventive medicine strategy.

Try herbs. Certain herbs can help target and prevent against specific stress symptoms. If you’re unable to fall asleep, try melatonin. Siberian ginseng and Panax ginseng help strengthen and tonify the adrenal glands and help the body adapt to stressors.

Decrease coffee and caffeine. Caffeine weakens adrenal response to stress.

Decrease alcohol and refined carbohydrates. It is important to avoid missing meals or ingesting too many sugar/refined carbohydrates as they can cause hypoglycemia. Stress hormones can also starve the brain of glucose, leading to interference with brain chemistry and chemistry for balance of mood.

Eat more complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates can help to raise serotonin levels. Under stress our brain uses serotonin.  When our stores of serotonin become low due to stress, our mood can become affected and become less positive or even accompanied with anxiety and depression.

Eat this:

Greens (Spinach, Watercress, Lettuce, Mustard greens, Swiss chard), Most Fruits and Vegetables and Whole grains (Whole Barley, Buckwheat, Oat bran, spelt, Oats, Brown Rice, Wild Rice), Yogurt, Legumes (Lentils, garbanzos, soy beans, black beans, pinto beans), soy milk, onions, tomatoes.

Not this:

Table sugar, corn syrup, fruit juice, candy, cake, bread made with white flour, pasta made with white flour, soda pop, baked goods made with white flour, most packaged cereals

We haven’t touched on the variety of other tools available if you are feeling stressed. Research strongly supports integrating posture, meditation, visualization, yoga and biofeedback as potential techniques to help decrease your stress. Be sure to speak to your doctor to determine whether or not you are a candidate for any of these natural therapies.