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Diet tips to beat stress

Sticking to a healthy nutrition plan in the long term will make you battle ready to fight off stress.
Hindustan Times | By Dr Anjali Mukerjee, Mumbai
UPDATED ON APR 29, 2010 06:14 PM IST

What kind of nutritional support is needed to reduce the effect of stress and negative thinking?
Stress, fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, and jealousy are emotions that have a definite impact on our health. A cleansing nutritional programme helps negate these effects.
Limit coffee intake as caffeine contributes to panic attacks and nervousness.
Increase intake of raw vegetables and fresh fruits as they are rich in flavonoids, which help neutralise dangerous free radicals.
Physical inactivity is a form of stress to the body. Exercising can help keep stress under control.
Avoid carbonated drinks, fried foods, refined foods made from white flour, sugar, foods containing colour or additives and processed foods as they produce chemicals in the body that add to toxin overload.
Chamomile tea (a type of herb tea made from chamomile flowers) has a calming effect on the nerves and is also soothing to the digestive tract. Taking one or two cups of this tea at bed-time helps to sleep better.
Kava Kava tea also helps to relax the body and has a calming effect on the mind.
Ashwagandha, an ayurvedic herb, helps offset the effects of stress and act as a nerve tonic.
Above all, try to create a loving relationship with close family and friends as that affects your health to a great degree.

What is the impact of negative thinking on your health?
Negative emotions have a definite impact on our health. During any stressful situation, there is an increase in the levels of stress hormones in the blood, which lead to faster heartbeats, rise in blood pressure, quickening of breath and sharpening of senses.

If stress is experienced for a short span of time and in right levels, then it can actually work to your advantage by improving your energy levels, keeping you on your toes before that big presentation or exam and even improving your concentration.

However, if stress is experienced over a prolonged time span, it can actually have a negative impact on your health. It can precipitate high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, constipation, diarrhoea, ulcers, immune disorders, insomnia, chronic fatigue and a host of other disease conditions.

Stress is omnipresent. It’s the way you handle a stressful situation that makes all the difference to your health. If things are not going your way, you may react by getting angry and revengeful, others may react by withdrawing and getting depressed, some of you may remain very cool and collected in the same situation and so on.

The answer lies in the manner in which you deal with the situation, rather than reacting to the situation itself. If you react violently it can have an exceptionally strong influence on your physical health. If you react calmly, the situation may not go away but you will be able to deal with more clarity.

Dr Anjali Mukerjee is a nutritionist and founder Health Total, a nutrition counselling centre.

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