Stress is basically a state of emotional or mental tension which results from adverse circumstances. When a body is under stress it releases a a complex set of hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and norepinephrine, which prepares the body for physical action.

Effects of stress on human body

Stress and depression directly affects ones health. Prolonged stress can lead to heart diseases, diabetes, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers , alopecia, and can even lead to obesity, muscle and joint pains. The most common problems that individuals suffers in stress are

  • Sleeplessness or insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Frustration
  • Panic
  • Chest pain
  • Increased heart beat
  • Indigestion
  • High blood pressure
  • Hyperglycaemia
  • Frequent urination
  • Eating disorders, anorexia or binge eating

Diet and stress

Stressand diet are directly related to each other. The person under stress either eats too much or stops eating, which can lead to either obesity or weight-loss. Feeling stressed can lead to the increase in levels of cortisol hormones which ultimately contributes in weight gain and linked to the tendency of body to store fat around stomach. In order to combat stress , individuals normally opt for foods rich in sugar and fat which also results in weight gain.

Many studies reveal that individuals taking healthy and balanced diet are less stressed than those on poor diet. A good diet also helps to reduce your stress levels.

  • Eating small frequent meals can keep your metabolism on the go and help to minimise your stress.
  • A diet rich in Magnesium helps to reduce anxiety and are muscle relaxers.
  • B-vitamins provides you with energy needed to fight in times of stress
  • Vitamins C are largely stored in adrenal glands which are responsible for the secretion of cortisol, a stress hormone.

Stress relieving foods

Many people claims that eating high fatty foods and desserts relieves stress. However it is essential to avoid such high sugar foods, because along with obesity it causes irritability and put an extra strain on the body. An increase consumption of hydrogenated fats food can result in increase in depression.

The foods that help to reduce stress are

  • Complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat grains, cereals such as oat meals tend to increase the level of serotonin in blood. The imbalance of serotonin in blood results in depression.
  • Fruits and vegetables provide more nutrients, vitamin and minerals to the body which are needed in large amounts in times of stress
  • Foods rich in calcium such as low fat milk, yogurt,cheese and eggs helps to reduce muscle tension and anxiety.
  • Omega 3 and omega 6 found in high fat fish, flaxseeds, walnuts and pumpkin seeds help to lower the release of corticosteroids ( hormones released in stressful conditions) and thus lowers mental and physical stress.

Some examples of stress busting foods are

  • Oatmeal
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts and pistachios
  • Fish
  • Yogurt
  • Dark chocolate
  • Milk

Along with a healthy diet , good night sleep and exercise also help to lower stress levels.


Aliya Waqas