Manage Stress with Nutritional Support
by Robin Thomas
The stressors just keep coming. Just when we thought the pandemic was settling down, the delta variant raised its ugly head and the common everyday stressors are magnified, making it more difficult to relax, recharge our bodies, and decompress.
Luckily, there are calming nutrients found in your diet that help the natural rest and recovery system in your body. It’s called the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). Vitamins and minerals in your diet support PSNS function and help you relax. Magnesium, zinc, and B vitamins optimize your body’s ability to recharge and support healthy rest. Herbal adaptogens help promote resiliency.
Magnesium, the Calming Mineral
Magnesium is known as the “calming mineral” because it plays a critical role in your body’s ability to relax. Your mind and muscles need magnesium to properly rest. Sometimes after a stressful day, it’s tough to relax and sleep. Magnesium can help you prepare your mind for rest by optimizing activity in the PSNS.
Magnesium supports restful sleep in two ways. It optimizes melatonin secretion, a hormone that is so important to regulate your sleep-wake cycles and it binds with the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to help put your body in sleep mode. GABA is responsible for turning down nervous system activity so your body can settle down and rest.
Magnesium also supports muscle recovery after exercise, reducing uncomfortable feelings of muscle tightness and cramps. It does this by blocking calcium, which stimulates contraction, from entering the muscle fiber.
Zinc, the Stress-Modulating Mineral
Zinc supports feelings of calm and rest by helping your brain keep occasional stress under control, making it easier for you to relax. Zinc helps your brain manage and respond to occasional stress, supporting a healthy mood and maintaining feelings of wellness.
Zinc is one of the main essential nutrients that support your mental health, and your body relies solely on your diet for its supply. Foods rich in zinc include: animal proteins, legumes, and grains. You can also reinforce your diet with a high-quality zinc supplement.
B Vitamins, Vital for Brain Health
Your brain is in charge of helping your body rest. It relies on neurotransmitters to send messages throughout your body when it’s time to wind down. Earlier you read how GABA and melatonin influence your ability to sleep and rest.
Those are just two examples of neurotransmitters which your brain uses to calm you down.
B vitamins are the precursors to many neurotransmitters. They play a part in the chemical interactions that produce messenger molecules like dopamine and serotonin. Dopamine is known for its ability to trigger feelings of happiness, reward, and pleasure. And serotonin is a mood-regulating chemical messenger. When dopamine and serotonin levels are within a healthy range, you feel happy and content.
Add Adaptogens to Aid Your Stress-Management Strategy
Adaptogens have been foundational in traditional medicine around the world for centuries. They support helpful reactions created by a wide range of cell signals in your brain. Recent studies have shown that specific herbs act as adaptogens by helping to maintain resilience to mild stress and helping support the management of sensitivity to stressors. The active compounds in saffron and other herbs support cellsignaling processes in the brain and the body’s stress-adaptation mechanisms.*
Nutrition is a valuable way to support your body’s stress response. It’s also helpful to include exercise, self-care, and mediation as great coping strategies. By combining all of the above, you will discover a healthier life that you will love.
Robin Thomas is the founder of the Living Well Connections wellness community. Learn more at robinthomas.biz.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.