Surprise, surprise!! As usual, it is recommended to eat fresh and whole foods, in moderation, and with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Most nutrients we need to combat stress are contained in fresh foods: the anti-oxidants vitamins A,C and E, the very important vitamin B Complex, magnesium, zinc, Omega 3 and more. The two most important however are the vitamin B complex and magnesium.
One very important vitamin is the B family. It is often called the anti-stress vitamin complex and is composed of:
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine.It will help the body manufacture protein, energy production and will support brain functions in general
Vitamin B5 or Pantothenic acid.This anti-stress vitamin is important for the adrenal cortex function and the regulation of adrenaline
Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine.This one is very important for mental functions and mood stability, especially when stress occurs. It has a role in protein utilization and cardiovascular health (it works in synergy with Vitamin B5)
Vitamin B12. It is called the red vitamin and contains cobalt needed against anemia. Vitamin B12 is involved in the metabolism of the nerve tissue and the general health of the nervous system. It fights tiredness and lack of energy
Besides a Vitamin B Complex that you can take as a supplement, you will find these vitamins in:
- Vitamin B1: Brewer’s yeast, sunflower seeds, salmon, brown rice, whole grains, liver and pork
- Vitamin B2: Broccoli, spinach, soybeans, brewer’s yeast, eggs, whole grains
- Vitamin B6: Bananas, whole grains, wheat germ, brown rice, chicken, salmon
- Vitamin B12: Salmon, milk, eggs, tofu, chicken, shellfish
- The Mighty Magnesium: Magnesium is needed to convert carbs, proteins and fat into energy. Magnesium also helps to calm or sleep and is often recommended to be taken at bedtime. It is necessary for muscle relaxation and this is why a telling sign of magnesium deficiency is leg cramps.
Magnesium keeps the blood flowing freely and prevents abnormal thickening when clotting reactions would be dangerous.
Chronic stress depletes your body of magnesium even if you beat it regularly. The lower your magnesium level to begin with, the more reactive to stress you become and the higher your level of adrenaline will be in stressful situations
As a supplement, it is recommended to take 500mg a day (at bedtime) and the best food sources are:
• Dairy products
• Fish, meat, seafood
• Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas
• Black strap molasses, brewer’s yeast
• Green leafy vegetables (except spinach/chard rich in oxalic acid that hinders its absorption)