Beat stress during the pandemic with nutrition

Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 10:16 AM CDT
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On this Fit Life, KY3′s Paul Adler visits with personal trainer Pamela Hernandez to find some ways you can beat back the stress of the pandemic through nutrition.

Here’s what she told us:

The Missing Piece of Your Stress Management Plan

We can all agree that stress levels have been running high. You may be looking at things like exercise or meditation to help manage that stress but have you taken a moment to consider food can be part of your stress management plan?

One critical nutrition hack for stress management is to avoid calorie restriction and strict diets.

When you don't eat, not only are you depriving your body of the critical nutrients and energy it needs you are also triggering a famine response. This famine response is just seen as another stressor.

Keep plenty of easy to prepare foods that you enjoy handy so you can nourish your body without too much extra effort on a overwhelming day.

The second thing to focus on is plenty of healthy fats, particularly omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-3s are the anti-inflammatory fats that help us fight stress in the body and reduce the production of molecules and substances that promote inflammation in the body.

Fatty fish is the best source of omega-3 fatty acids but they aren’t the only source. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from plant-based sources like chia seeds, hemp seeds, milled flax seeds and walnuts. You could also look to an omega-3 supplement to help.

Fish oil is the most common supplement but it may not work for everyone. There are many vegan omega-3 supplements that are algae-based to choose from.

Finally, physical and mental stress can easily deplete your body of magnesium. Focus on magnesium-rich foods like dark greens, avocado, nuts, seeds and beans first. Magnesium supplements are generally safe but start with a low dose. Too much can lead to gastrointestinal issues or cardiac arrhythmias in some.

As always, before you take any supplement talk to your doctor.

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