Foods that Counteract Stress

During stress, the body needs more of certain nutrients because they are burned up faster than usual. Stress increases the demand for vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin B-complex, proteins, magnesium, antioxidants and essential oils. To counteract the stress effects, one needs more of these nutrients.
There is a high concentration of vitamin C in our brain tissues, more than any other tissue in the body. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, that is used up quickly during stressful periods. One needs to cater to the high demand for this vitamin during high levels of stress. An amount between 500-1,000 milligrams would be required to combat the stress after-effects. The best sources of vitamin C are citrus fruits like oranges, potatoes, tomatoes, and leafy green vegetables.
Vitamin A is another requirement during times of stress. It is needed for maintenance of skin, mucous membranes, bones, teeth and hair, eyesight, and reproduction. Vitamin A may also protect against cancer. Liver (especially fish liver), egg yolk, fortified margarine, oily fish, oranges, apricots, carrots, tomatoes, melons, and dark green leafy vegetables contain this vitamin in abundance.
Magnesium is found in dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grain foods, legumes, milk.
Proteins are of two types – animal protein and vegetable protein. Animal protein can be found in foods like meat, fish, egg and all dairy products, while vegetable protein is found in grains, beans, pulses, nuts, seeds and sprouted seeds.
Stress increases the generation of free radicals in the body, which are the main cause of cancer. The only elements that can fight free radicals are antioxidants, found in plenty in cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli etc. They are rich in bio-flavinoids, which are powerful antioxidants. During stressful times, the body generates a whole lot of free radicals, which cause harm to the body cells. Bio-flavinoids protect the body against cell damage caused by free radicals.
Another important source of antioxidants is green tea. It contains an abundance of polyphenols which are active agents protecting against heart disease and cancer. The polyphenols also protect against the damages caused by stress. Chamomile tea is a powerful anti-stress agent. It relaxes and soothes the mind and promotes sound sleep.
Fruits are an essential ingredient, which could provide the required amounts of antioxidants required to counteract stress.
They contain simple sugars and complex carbohydrates, which help raise the serotonin levels in the bloodstream. Serotonins are the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitters, which elevate mood and fight depression.
Vegetable and fruit juices are also a good source of antioxidants. A regular glass of any fruit juice or vegetable juice can go a long way in helping the body cope with the detrimental effects of stress.