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How to beat stress by eating right With exams round the corner, it is bit normal for children and parents to come under pressure and stress. You may be glad to know that  what you eat make a difference to how you cope with stress.Studies found that what you eat can alter your mood, change stress levels, irritability and boost calmness. Further, it has been reported that unhealthy meals enhances stress levels. Another study show that students who are under the influence of examination stress show significant food consumption, especially high fat and sugary snacks, which can be counter-productive. Further, increased stress creates a greater need for certain essential nutrients like water soluble vitamins- Vitamin B, C and minerals like zinc. The levels of vitamin C can fluctuate depending on the degree of physical and emotional stress. There are nutrients that help in synthesis and proper functioning of adrenal hormones and found in vitamin C, B6, zinc, magnesium, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) and amino acid tyrosine. These are the most important stress fighting hormone. By following some simple tips, one can protect oneself from faulty eating during stressful times and promote calmer state of mind. Go for smaller frequent meals to ensure a steady stream of energy and have a calming effect on the brain. Try to avoid large meals. Include adequate amount of fresh fruits and vegetables like amla, citrus fruits, tomatoes, green peppers, green leafy vegetables, kiwi, broccoli, and strawberries to ensure good vitamin C status. Avoid the intake of white flour, white rice, sweetened beverages and sugar. Choose whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice and whole wheat; pulses, nuts and seeds, low fat dairy, seafood, lean meats, green leafy vegetables and wheat germ to ensure adequate intake of vitamin B and zinc. Avoid junk food and poor quality fat (hydrogenated- trans fats). Fresh fruits, dry fruits, honey coated nuts, seeds, roasted whole grains, soups, salads, hot chocolate, almond milk or yogurt, should be your snacks to prevent swings in blood sugars and cravings. Drink plenty of fluids and remain well hydrated. Green tea, jasmine tea and cammomile tea help calm the mind. Drink tea, coffee and caffeinated beverages, including colas in moderation.Nourish your brain with healthy food rather than gulping memory pills.Memory boosting nutrients include:Reduce the cell damage in brain by Antioxidants like vitamin A, E and C found in natural foods like eggs, carrots, brocolli, fish, nuts, green leafy vegetables and fruits. Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, mustard oil, mustard seeds, methi, urad dal, rajma, soybeans, lobia, walnuts, bajra, and flaxseeds (alsi) are good for brain as well as good skin and heart health. Flaxseeds are the richest plant source of omega 3 fats.Vitamin B1: For a healthy nervous system and  biosynthesis of a number of cell constituents, including the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and gamma-amonibutyric acid, Vitamin B1 is vital. It also aids memory and learning. Good sources of vitamin B1 (Thiamin) include rice bran, wheat germ, whole wheat flour, barley, maize (dry), eggs, cow’ milk (skimmed, whole), khoa etc.; wheat and rice bran being the richest sources.Vitamin B12: Enhances the functioning of the central nervous system and improves concentration, memory, balance and relieves irritability. Foods of animal origin like egg, lean meat, low-fat milk etc. are good sources of animal origin. Plant foods containing this vitamin include spirulina (blue green algae).Folic Acid: It is essential for the body’s clearance of homocysteine, an amino acid that causes cognitive decline and preserves cellular health. Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, pulses, wheatgerm form important sources of folic acid.It is common knowledge that exams are always accompanied with stress. With the increased stress,there is an increased demand for certain water soluble vitamins like Vitamin C and B-complex. The levels of vitamin C in the body varies greatly with the physical and emotional stress, which dips when subjected to a lot of stress. Scientists in a major study found that students during exam who experience stress may have an increased craving for high fat and high sugar snacks. There is also the physiological demand of certain nutrients like Vitamin C, Zinc, magnesium, potassium, and the protein tyrosine shoots up. These nutrients are required for the generation of adrenal hormones or the stress-fighting hormones. Understand that good nutrition plays a major role, especially during exam time when the brain and body are under such extreme stress. Ensure to have the right diet and exercise routine to  get energy and improve your mental alertness, and avoid poor diet that’ll only make you feel sluggish and jittery.

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