Nutrition and Stress
Too rushed or stressed to eat well? Think
again!! Good nutrition is an important stress management tool. When our bodies are poorly fed, stress
takes an even greater toll on our health. Nutrition and stress are interlinked. Here are some
tips to eat well for academic success:
- Eat regularly. Your brain needs
glucose to work at its best. Eating regularly throughout the day helps keep
your blood glucose stable. Studies have shown that more stable blood sugar
levels are associated with better academic performance.
- Get your healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, flax seed and fish oil are
associated with brain function. Deficiencies of this fatty acid can result in
depression and/or anxiety.
- Eat your veggies. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals like copper,
zinc, manganese, and vitamins A, E and C. Leafy greens are especially good for
you. These vitamins and minerals work to neutralize harmful molecules produced
when your body is under stress.
- Add high-fiber foods. High fiber intake has been associated with greater alertness and
decreased perceived stress. So add fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, nuts, beans,
fruits and vegetables to your diet.
- Trade caffeine for more sleep. Caffeine leads to increased blood
pressure and may make you anxious, especially if you are already prone to
anxiety. While consuming caffeine may seem to help you concentrate better, some
studies show that caffeine only restores what is lost through lack of sleep.
Instead of turning to caffeine, try the natural grade booster – sleep!
- Stock up on healthy snacks. If you know that a stressful or busy time
is approaching, prepare by stocking up on quick, healthy snacks. Healthy snacks
are high in protein and/or fiber. Some examples are low fat granola, almonds,
peanuts, carrots with hummus or yogurt with fresh fruit.
How you deal with stress is a choice. Too often people turn to cigarettes,
sweets, television, coffee and/or alcohol to "manage" stress.
Instead, control stress by adopting a healthful lifestyle which includes eating
well, exercising, sleeping adequately and enjoying your free time.