Stress is roughly defined as the application of emotional or physical challenges in a way that exceed your body’s resources and resilience. Stress can, over time, chip away at your body’s immunity and your overall health. Chronic stress has been found to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. Completely avoiding stress isn’t typically realistic but you can enact ways to help your body withstand the effects of stress.
Improving your nutritional habits is one of the best ways to help your body beat stress. Chronic stress can cause your body to lose large amounts of stored nutrients. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can cause illness, susceptibility to injury and other chronic health problems. Making smaller scale changes to the way you eat can help you become accustomed to new nutritional habits with less risk of making them feel too sudden. Stress especially affects the amount of vitamins and minerals that help your body fight off cancer and antigens that cause colds and flu.
Emphasizing foods that are nutritionally dense is one of the best ways to beat stress. These foods include fruits, vegetables and whole grain products as well as low or no fat dairy. Decrease your reliance on caffeine and foods that are high in sugar, particularly if you use these to increase your energy. While they do indeed, create a temporary rise in energy, caffeine and sugar can also deplete your body’s immunity, effect your sleep and cause weight gain. Although it doesn’t officially contain a source of nutrition, water should be consumed in adequate amounts. Even mild dehydration can make the effects of stress worse, can impair sleep and can cause your immune system to falter. Drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily can improve your mood, reduce the effects of stress and help to fill your stomach so you are less likely to turn to unhealthy eating habits.
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