The right nutrition can have a dramatic impact on your ability to cope with stress. Here’s the key nutrients that may help to support a balanced response to stress, helping you to feel calmer and more relaxed.
Often nicknamed nature’s tranquilliser, magnesium has an important role to play in helping the body to cope with stress. A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that a deficiency of magnesium intensified adverse reactions to stress. Muscle cramps are an obvious physical sign of low magnesium, and a lack of either calcium or magnesium can make you more nervous, irritable and aggressive. For symptoms of feeling edgy, nervous and unable to relax, calcium and magnesium can be very useful.
B complex vitamins are essential for helping to cope with stress in a balanced way. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) in particular is found in high concentrations in the adrenal glands (the part of the body that manages the stress response).
Vitamin C is found in exceptionally high concentrations in adrenal tissues and supports balanced adrenal health. This nutrient is rapidly depleted during chemical, emotional, psychological or physiological stress and it is particularly important to supply high quantities during these times to cope with increased demand.
Taurine is an amino acid, which plays an important role in many areas of the body including the brain and nervous system. It works in combination with vitamin B6 and magnesium.
L-theanine is a relaxing, health-promoting amino acid found in tea. Studies have shown that when theanine is absorbed by the body, it can help to bring about an alert, yet totally relaxed state of mind. When Japanese tea-drinkers refer to the ‘tea-mind’; it is this particular state of tranquillity brought about by theanine to which they are referring. L-theanine may help to support balance and improve the quality of sleep.
1) Seelig M.S. Consequences of Magnesium Deficiency on the Enhancement of Stress Reactions: Preventive and Therapeutic Implications (A Review) J Am Coll Nutr 1994; 13(5): 429-446
2) Rogers PJ, Smith JE et al., Time for tea: mood, blood pressure and cognitive performance effects of caffeine and theanine administered alone and together. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2008 Jan; 195 (4): 569-77 Epub 2007 Sep 23