How to reduce stress and help concentration levels with nutrition
What you eat can play a significant role in how well you manage stress and how well your brain functions day to day and throughout life.
CNM graduate Candice Behan explains some of the best evidence-based foods for improving brain function and how to cope with stress effectively.
Please see www.naturopathy-uk.com/events to attend the next CNM Bristol Open Evening.
1. Oily Fish / Seeds and Nuts
Omega-3s fuel the brain and keep it working at its best. The richest source of Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Alternatively you can take a good quality fish oil supplement that provides between 3-4g combined EPA and DHA per dose. You can also get Omega-3 from flaxseeds and walnuts. Omega-3 fats offer benefits to all age groups, from foetal and infant brain development, right through to prevention of age-related cognitive decline and reduced risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
Blueberries have impressively high antioxidant levels that may support brain function by strengthening communication between brain cells, helping improve memory. The antioxidants in blueberries are also associated with a reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline, especially in the elderly.
Eggs contain choline, a compound that is not only essential for the transport of fat in the body, but is a precursor for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. This chemical results in relaxed alertness and improved memory function, thus creating a perfect mental state for exams.
4. Dealing with stress
With regards to stress, stick to the basics of good quality vegetables and fruit, whole grains like oats and brown rice and good quality proteins like fish, beans and legumes. Avoid sugar as this can aggravate stress levels by playing havoc with your glucose and insulin levels. The nutrients obtained from a good diet can really help you to cope with stress. Magnesium is Nature’s tranquilliser, whilst a zinc deficiency can lead to irritability, chronic anger, and reduced ability to handle stress. The B vitamins are also involved in many stress and energy processes.
If you need extra help, there are some excellent stress-relieving ‘adaptogen’ herbal preparations on the market, which your herbalist or naturopathic therapist could recommend for you in the correct doses. Suitable herbs range from Siberian Ginseng to Rhodiola to Ashwagandha.
It is important to eliminate or contain the causes of stress so that you don’t get into a vicious cycle. Getting plenty of exercise is good, as the endorphins released are very stress relieving. Time spent out in nature is deeply restorative so take a walk in the park or the countryside, leaving your electronic gadgets behind. Plus, enjoying some safe levels of sunshine will bump up your Vitamin D levels and make you feel better.
Make sure there are no distractions when you go to bed, such as televisions or mobile phones, which could interfere with a good night’s sleep. Acupuncture is particularly good at calming the spirit and helping the mind switch off.
CNM Bristol (College of Naturopathic Medicine) trains students for successful careers in natural therapies, and offers Short Courses. CNM Bristol are holding their next Open Day on Saturday 22nd June 2019 from 10am-4.30pm
Come and be inspired by the power of natural therapies to promote health and vitality! This event will be packed with fabulous tips on how to look after your health naturally. Plus, if you’re thinking of changing your career, you’ll get the chance to find out more about training with CNM to become a natural health practitioner.
Book your ticket here