Three Important Nutrients for Stressful Times

Stress is the number one killer, right?  

We commonly relate to stress from work, family and day-to-day life pressures, but the burdens of stress that come from the smaller, over looked places are often forgotten. If your body does not have all the vital nutrients it requires to function optimally, it is deficient. When you have nutrient deficiencies, your body tries to compensate. Think of it like trying to work without your standard tools, it's stressful. 

When you are experiencing physical, emotional or mental stress of any kind, changes happen in your body. This is pretty taxing on the body as lots of energy and many nutrients are readily used up in the process. 

If you're under any form of stress,  the best place to start, nutritionally, is to make sure each meal is as nutrient dense as possible and balanced with protein, fat and slow burning carbohydrates.  Not so funnily enough, diet is often one of the first things neglected during the times we need it most.

Below I have listed a few nutrients that are worth paying extra attention to. Focus on increasing your consumption of these stress-combating nutrients along with a balanced, varied, whole-foods diet. 

  1. Vitamin C
    • Vitamin C is one of the most important and powerful antioxidants in our bodies. It is very sensitive to stress and used up very quickly during times of it.
    • Anyone with addictions to drugs or alcohol will find that Vitamin C is very often the first nutrient depleted in their system.
    • It plays a vital role in supporting our immune system and feeding our adrenals
    • Best sources: Dark leafy greens, red pepper, broccoli, berries, kiwi, pineapple, papaya, citrus and other fruits
  2. B Vitamins (The B Complex)
    • The B complex is recognized grouping of a combination of 8 B-Vitamins including:
      • Vitamin B1 (thiamin)
      • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
      • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
      • Pantothenic acid
      • Biotin
      • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
      • Folic acid (folate)
      • Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin)
    • B vitamins play an important role in metabolizing the macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein)) from the food you eat. They help support the brain, central nervous system, immune system and healthy hormone function. 
    • Best sources: Animal sources:  chicken, turkey, beef, pork, liver,  salmon, tuna, other fish and eggs are good sources. Plant based sources: sweet potato, avocado, leafy greens, lentils, legumes and whole grains. 
  3. Magnesium
    • Magnesium is often referred to as the magic mineral for stress. It is quickly depleted during times of it.
    • Signs of magnesium deficiency include irritability, trouble falling asleep, anxiousness, constipation, muscle spasms, twitching or tension, tingling sensations, heart palpitations, and even blood sugar issues.
    • Deficiencies can be hard to rectify through food alone if you have under gone serious stress or live in a chronically stressed out state. If this is the case, I would consider picking up a supplement at your local health food store- look for a Bis-glycinate form.
    • Best sources: broccoli, spinach, swiss chard, bananas, raw cacao, black berries, dates, pumpkin seeds, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazel nuts, shrimp, tuna, buckwheat (kasha) and oats.

Focus on making each meal as nutrient dense as possible, with careful consideration to the above.