6 Nutrients That Counteract the Negative Effects of Stress
People who are stressed out, sick or just plain exhausted are more likely to be drinking too much coffee or alcohol, skipping meals or overeating “comfort” foods, and not getting enough sleep. But these common reactions to stress only tend to make things worse by setting you up for nutritional deficiencies that can further affect your mental and physical wellbeing.
Stress hormones sap the body of important nutrients, such as B vitamins, vitamin C and the mineral magnesium. They also increase blood pressure and heart rate, make your blood clot easier, destabilize blood sugar levels and can cause body-wide inflammation, setting the stage for chronic disease.
A healthy diet is important to warding off the negative effects of stress. But if your normally-healthy eating habits are hitting the skids, nutritional supplements are important because they can help protect you by providing essential nutrients.
Here is a rundown of a few of the nutrients that can help buoy your health status when stress, illness or fatigue get you down. And be sure to check out the video at the end of the slide show that discusses how to avoid catching stress from other people.
This antioxidant reduces the secretion of cortisol, a stress hormone that impairs learning and memory, makes people depressed and suppresses immunity. Research shows that people who get extra vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to a stress challenge. People who got 1,000 mg of vitamin C had lower levels of cortisol and lower blood pressure than those who did not get it. They also said they felt less stressed.
We recommend 1,000 mg a day of vitamin C in two or three divided doses. If stress makes you get sick, we recommend taking vitamin C along with these other nutrients: vitamin D (1,000-2,000 IUs), zinc (20 mg), quercetin (500 mg) and decaffeinated green tea extract (450 mg).