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How to combat stress and anxiety the natural way

March 30, 2016
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From hectic work schedules to busy social lives, it can be easy to quickly feel overwhelmed or stressed, which can take its toll on your health. Nutritional Therapist Susie Perry Debice reveals her top tips for combatting stress and anxiety the natural way…

stress© Photo: iStock

There are easy ways to combat stress naturally

Recognise you're stressed

Learn to recognise the symptoms of your stress, for example high blood pressure, fatigue, anxiety or even digestive problems. If you know it's taken a hold of your body, it can help you to cope better – and there are plenty of natural tools to help you unwind.

Get outside more

One hormone that helps us reverse our way out of stress, by enabling us to feel relaxed, happy and cheerful, is called serotonin and there is direct link between the body’s ability to produce serotonin with more exposure to daylight. This link is so strong that during the winter months, when our daylight hours are greatly limited, some people experience what’s known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a type of depression caused by low serotonin levels. The NHS recommends getting as much natural daylight as possible during these challenging months and suggests a short walk at lunchtime to be of great benefit.

Eat stress-busting foods

There are plenty of foods that contain a special type of protein called tryptophan which the body easily uses to make serotonin. These foods include turkey, chicken, fish, avocado, bananas, cottage cheese, walnuts, sunflower seeds and brown rice. It can be a good idea to find ways to start incorporating these stress-busting foods into your daily diet.

stress© Photo: iStock

A good night's sleep can help you cope better with anxiety and stress

Get a good night's sleep

It’s important to remember that a prolonged period of stress is often accompanied by a disrupted sleep pattern and this perpetuates the problem. A tired body and mind doesn't cope well with stressful situations. Staying up into the early hours of the morning isn’t going to help your quest for happiness! Help your body get back into a natural sleep rhythm by rising early and going to bed before 10.30pm. Getting your body into a 'sleep routine' by having a relaxing lavender oil bath, reading a book and removing any electronic gadgets, screens and mobile phones from your sleep space could just help your body unwind and drift off to sleep.

Make sure you have a balanced diet

Top up on vital vitamins by starting your day with a breakfast smoothie made from probiotic yoghurt, almond milk and frozen berries. Keep your magnesium intake high by adding a portion of green leafy vegetables to your evening meals and snack on nuts and seeds. Swap your white ‘refined carbs’ such as white bread, white rice and pasta, for brown our wholegrain versions to ensure that B-vitamins are featuring in your food.

Ditch the junk food

Stocking up on foods that help to improve your nutritional status is a step in the right direction but these foods become far more effective if you also ditch the junk. Reducing alcohol, sugar, caffeine and processed foods as a means to tidying up your diet is a great way to create impact on your sense of well-being and vitality. Swapping chocolate bars, cakes and biscuits for fresh fruit or dried fruit is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth while also boosting fibre and helping to achieve your five-a-day!

Get enough vitamin C

The adrenal glands tend to burn through a lot of vitamin C, magnesium and B-vitamins when producing stress hormones – and vitamin C is key to helping fight off infection. Studies indicate that people who have low levels of vitamin C are unable to respond to stress appropriately and that stress hormones can escalate, so you can try taking a supplement such as Altrient C to help boost your intake.

For more information on Altrient C head to

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