Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Stress has a profoundly negative effect on the body’s nutrient stores, which is why we often feel depleted and lacking in energy during these times. As well as rapidly using up essential nutrients as part of the body’s stress response, stress can also prevent the body from absorbing essential nutrients. It is therefore more important than ever to properly nurture the body and provide it with nutritious foods during stressful periods in order to protect health and build resilience.
Increasing intakes of the following key nutrients can help to protect against the adverse effects of stress:
1. Magnesium – Stress depletes magnesium however magnesium is needed for a healthy stress response to help us deal with stress, increasing magnesium intakes is therefore essential during times of stress.
- Food sources include green leafy vegetables, avocado, almonds, pumpkin seeds and dark chocolate
2. Vitamin C – An essential immune-supporting nutrient, which is found in high amounts in the adrenal glands and is released in response to stress. Humans, unlike other mammals, are unable to synthesise this important vitamin so intakes should be increased in stressful periods.
- Food sources include kiwi fruits, berries, papaya, kale, broccoli and tomatoes
3. Vitamin B5 – An important nutrient co-factor required for energy production and as part of the stress response so the body’s requirements are higher as stress levels increase to ensure the adrenal glands have sufficient energy to produce stress hormones.
- Food sources include meat (particularly liver), eggs, avocado, mushrooms and sunflower seeds
4. Vitamin B6 – Another important nutrient co-factor involved in numerous biochemical pathways in the body, including the modulation of adrenal gland activity and the stress response, and since stress also depletes vitamin B6, higher intakes are required when stressed.
- Food sources include meat (particularly liver), tuna, eggs, chickpeas, pistachios and bananas
5. Zinc – A commonly deficient mineral, which plays an important role in supporting the immune system and modulating the body’s stress response, and since it is also rapidly used up during times of stress increased intakes are recommended.
- Food sources include meat, shellfish, eggs, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and chickpeas
Supplementation of these essential nutrients may be required, particularly where there is insufficient dietary intake such as with a vegan/vegetarian diet, in cases of digestive dysfunction and to correct more severe deficiencies.
Please be in touch if you would like some further information, you can contact me directly or book straight in for a Naturopath consultation so that we can address your individual case :)