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Foods that fight stress

Suffering from stress, sleeplessness, heaviness or persistent headaches? To prevent the onset of stress and nervous disorders, it is important to eat right and get a balance of nutrients, writes Shikha Sharma.

brunch Updated: Jan 25, 2014 19:24 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
food to fight stress,food,wellness

Stress is commonplace in big cities. The manifestations of stress include tightness in the head, neck and the shoulder, accompanied by heaviness and sleeplessness. To prevent the onset of stress and nervous disorders, it is important to eat right and get a balance of nutrients.

One of the biggest reasons that could contribute to a feeling of stress is food that is deficient in nutrients, which are so vital for our nerves. In a two-part series, I'll take you through ways of tackling stress via food.

Go for Plan B

Vitamins that are important for nerves are clubbed in the B-Complex group. During a stress reaction, the body uses B vitamins very quickly. These vitamins are also depleted when we consume too much sugar.

Some of the B vitamins include Thiamine and Pyridoxine, which are important for optimal nerve function. Two good sources for B vitamins are whole grains such as wheat bran and oats.

Folic acid deficiency leads to depression and anxiety. It can even cause defects in unborn children. To augment folic acid, include broccoli and spinach in your diet.

The role of B12, a vitamin found in eggs and dairy products, is to prevent nerve damage and help maintain the fatty cover of the nerves. Also, Biotin, found in brewer’s yeast and nuts, aids proper utilisation of B-complex vitamins in the body.

Vitamin B5 is important for the development and maintenance of the nervous system. During stressful periods, the adrenal gland is stimulated and releases stimulating hormones. In this process, Vitamin B5 is used up. Whole grains, legumes and avocado are rich in vitamins.

Choline, found in abundant quantities in milk, eggs and legumes, is another vitamin required by the brain cells for memory storage.

Vitamin C is required as an antioxidant for clearing up toxic free radicals. Citrus fruits are good sources of the vitamin.

Add verve to your nerves

Some of the foods which are healthy for the nerves include:

Oats with organic milk: This combination is calming and sleep-inducing. It can also relax the nerves if you are suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome., walnuts, sunflower seeds and dates:
Nuts and seeds are rich in natural oils, which are important for the nerve-covering sheath. Dates are a natural source of B vitamins, iron and several other minerals.

Fruits: Orange, guava, papaya and pomegranate are rich in vitamin C that helps destroy nerve-damaging free radicals.

Dairy products are a source of Vitamin B12. For maximum impact, these products should be organic and hormone-free.

Coconut water is rich in minerals that provide the pH balance essential for the nerves.

Chamomile tea is a great relaxant for frazzled nerves.

Don’t wreck your nerves which stress out the nerves include:

More than two cups of strong coffee every day

More than three cups of strong tea every day


Refined flour

Caffeine-rich fizzy drinks and energy drinks

From HT Brunch, January 26

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First Published: Jan 24, 2014 17:58 IST