Managing Stress With Good Nutrition

It’s not uncommon for someone helping a family member or friend with health concerns to forget his or her personal health needs. The time you need to take care of yourself often gets spent doing other things. When you do not give yourself a break, stress can creep in and affect you emotionally and physically.

Try to keep a healthy balance—so you can do your best for the person in your care.

Stress and your body

Have you ever had an upset stomach? Or headaches? Or back pain? If there is no physical explanation, these feelings may be the result of stress. And when stress does not let up, it can affect eating habits too. Some people may crave certain types of comfort food to boost their mood, while others eat very little. When stress affects the body in these ways, it can affect overall health.

Good nutrition can help reduce stress

Experts advise that eating healthy foods can help reduce stress for caregivers. Healthy food choices supply your body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can keep you energized and strong. Regular meal breaks also can provide some personal time to enjoy good food with friends or family. And that can go a long way toward reducing stress.

Healthy choices you can make

Good nutrition does not have to mean making big changes to your diet all at once. You can take it in small steps. You might want to start by reading food labels when you’re shopping—to help you make healthier choices. Or try healthy cooking methods. Here are a few more ideas:

Build good habits. Whether you’re cooking at home or eating out, try to include foods low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Get enough fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and fiber-rich foods. Go for lean meats, poultry, fish, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products—all in sensible portions. And cut back on foods and drinks with added sugar and salt.

Keep good nutrition a priority. Why not try the tool? It can help you with tasty, healthy ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s easy and fun.

You can help reduce stress with good nutrition. Your healthier eating habits also may set a good example for the person you’re caring for to follow.

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