Healthy diet and exercise helps to relieve stress

Exercise benefits our health in many ways. Photo: Getty Images
Exercise benefits our health in many ways. Photo: Getty Images
The situation we all find ourselves in, whether at home trying to keep the children entertained or as one of the essential service workers keeping us all supplied and protected, could be stressful.

Fresh columnist and naturopath Dee Copland has this advice.

While some stress enables us to achieve things, occasionally the pressure and tension can build up to the point where the stress in your life starts to negatively affect your physical and/or emotional wellbeing.

Prolonged stress is associated with alterations in brain neurotransmitters including the monoamines, noradrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.

Dysfunction of these due to prolonged stressful conditions has been associated with a wide range of central and peripheral disorders such as anxiety, depression, drug abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating and sleeping disorders, hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar levels) and decreased immune response (frequent colds and flus).

Stress can also be a contributing factor in conditions such as peptic ulcers, headaches, migraines, asthma, fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

What can we do about it?

A healthy diet will ensure you have all the essential vitamins and minerals you need to help your body cope with stress.

A multivitamin and mineral supplement can also be beneficial.

Be sure to include lots of green vegetables (raw and cooked), coloured vegetables, protein and good fats with each main meal.

Good fats such as avocado, raw nuts and seeds and coconut oil with meals help you to feel satisfied and keep blood sugar levels stable, reducing mood swings.

An example of a great meal might be the likes of a frittata with roast vegetables, served with raw baby spinach and avocado.

Frittatas are great, as they keep for a few days in the fridge and can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner and eaten hot or cold.

Traditionally, many cultures have used tai chi, yoga and meditation to nourish the nervous system.

These can be done at home or in classes.

Deep, slow, nasal breathing is a wonderful technique for telling the body to slow down and we can do this at any time.

Exercise: Love it or hate it, there is no denying exercise benefits our health in many ways.

Just 30 minutes a day of movement increases the production of endorphins, our ‘‘happy’’ brain chemicals, which can help you to feel more positive and energetic.

The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.


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