Vitamins to Reduce Stress

In life, there is both negative and positive stress but quite often, the balance between the two is thrown out of sync when something traumatic or painful happens and we end up with stress overload. The expression, "If a little is good then a lot must be better" does not apply to stress.

Stress is something that we cannot avoid therefore it is important to learn to cope with it and to treat our bodies extra special when we find ourselves in stressful life situations. Since there is a direct relationship between stress and nutrition, one way to do this is by consuming the right foods that will provide us with an adequate supply of minerals, nutrients and vitamins to reduce stress. Let's take a closer look at what the body needs.

Vitamin C is one of the more important stress relief vitamins and potatoes are an excellent source of this vitamin as they are full of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients help to keep the immune system on track and they also are good at fighting free radical damage in the body.

Baked potato skins in particular are full of dietary fiber. It is dietary fiber that helps to encourage a smoothly run digestive system and keeps such problems as stomach discomfort and constipation at bay. Other excellent sources of vitamin C include cabbage, cantaloupe, sweet peppers, strawberries and citrus fruits such as apples and oranges.

The mineral calcium plays an important role in regulating the rhythm of the heart and it also helps with the functioning of muscles and nerves. The body has a difficult time absorbing calcium when it is fighting stress. To rid yourself of this concern it is advisable to decrease the amount of caffeine you consume on a regular basis as well as to eat smaller and more frequent meals. Excellent sources of calcium include dairy products, almonds, broccoli, leafy green vegetables, tofu, kidney beans and sardines.

Magnesium goes hand in hand with calcium so make sure you get enough of both, especially when you are stressed. The mineral magnesium is responsible for calming and relaxing both muscles and nerves and it makes a peaceful night's sleep a great deal more possible. Magnesium helps to relieve tension in the muscles as well as migraine headaches, depression and nausea. Excellent sources of magnesium include bananas, black beans, spinach, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, figs, squash, soybeans and chard.

Omega-3 fish oil is an essential fatty acid that encourages the proper functioning of the heart and circulatory system and it also reduces high blood pressure. Omega-3 is also good at alleviating extreme tiredness, poor concentration and depression - all things that can occur as a result of stress. The best sources of omega-3 are salmon, tuna, halibut, herring, mackerel, flax-seeds, nuts, and dark leafy green vegetables such as Bok Choy. It is important to keep in mind that there is mercury in fish so keep your levels of fish consumption in moderation. Canned tuna tends to have low levels of mercury in it and light tuna consists of a lesser amount of mercury than does white albacore tuna. Canned salmon is fine but it too has traces of mercury in it.