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Does Nutrition Really Affect Your Stress Levels?
The Role Nutrition Plays in Stress Reduction
It turns out that in addition to making lifestyle changes, what you eat can actually affect your ability to deal with stress in a big way. It’s no secret that many people eat terrible diets nowadays, and that’s part of the problem. Just as how putting a low-quality fuel in your car will make it run poorly, putting a higher quality “fuel” in your stomach will allow your body to “run” in an optimal fashion. This includes improving your ability to tolerate stress.
A study conducted at Canterbury University in New Zealand set out to explore the relationship between nutrition and resilience in the face of a stressful event. In 2011, an earthquake struck the region surrounding Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 185 people and leaving hundreds injured and displaced. In the months that followed, there was also a series of smaller aftershocks.
The participants in this study were all adults who were experiencing “high anxiety and stress” following the quake and aftershocks. It was determined that 65 percent of the participants were experiencing some form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They were divided into four groups. The first group received a high-dose multivitamin, the second group received a lower-dose multivitamin, the third group received only B-vitamins, and a fourth group received no supplements in order to serve as a control.
The study lasted four weeks, and found that the adults in the “high-dose” group experienced the most benefits, with 52 percent describing a significant reduction in their levels of daily stress and anxiety. The low-dose and B-vitamin only groups saw less improvement, while the control reported no change at all.
Getting more vitamins on a regular basis improves your overall health and constitution, and as this study shows, it can help your body recover from stress and reduce the effects that consistent, ongoing anxiety has on the body.
Everyone reacts to stress in different ways, and truly traumatic experiences can affect anyone, so one should not base their treatment on just one article. Think of this more as a health “best practice” for defending against stress. Talk to your doctor, or a mental health professional if needed, if you have serious chronic stress for the best guidance on how to improve your situation.