You can handle
stress better when you are as healthy as possible, so
eating nutritiously is a good defense against stress. The tips below focus on
using nutrition to reduce the symptoms of stress. For more information about
eating right, see the topic Healthy Eating.
Avoid or limit caffeine. Coffee, tea, some sodas,
and chocolate contain caffeine. Caffeine causes you to feel "wound up," which
can make stressful situations seem more intense. If you drink a lot of
caffeine, reduce the amount gradually. Stopping use of caffeine suddenly can
cause headaches and make it hard to concentrate.
If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. If you
are feeling very stressed, you might be turning to alcohol for relief more
often than you realize. If you drink, limit yourself to 2 drinks a day for
men and 1 drink a day for women.
Make mealtimes calm and relaxed. Try not to skip
meals or eat on the run. Skipping meals can make stress-related symptoms worse.
You may get a headache or a tight, tense feeling in your stomach. Eating on the
run can cause indigestion. Use mealtime to relax, enjoy the flavor of your
meal, and reflect on your day.
Avoid eating to relieve stress. Some people turn to
food to comfort themselves when they are under stress. This can lead to
overeating and guilt. If this is a problem for you, try to replace eating with
other actions that relieve stress, such as taking a walk, playing with a pet,
or taking a bath.