Your physical health is directly related to your level of stress.
“Approximately 40% of patients who come to their doctor with symptoms don’t have a disease or structural abnormality to explain their discomfort,” writes David Clarke MD, President, Psychophysiologic Disorders Association. “Instead, their illness is linked to one or more sources of stress.”
Fortunately, Clarke believes that chronic stress can be identified, treated successfully, and the symptoms will improve as a result.
“With respect to the immune system, chronic stress can have adverse effects, and treating stress can produce beneficial changes.”
One no-brainer way to bust sickness-inducing stress is by changing the way you eat. Ready to take charge of your mental health by optimizing your diet? Here are some tips from the experts:
1. Battle stress with adaptogens.
92% of stress is directly related to your adrenal glands. Adaptogens help your body adapt to stress, nourishing and strengthening your adrenal glands, energy, and mood.
Adaptogens are brain food. Herbs like rhodiola, ginseng, and black maca launch your brain's energy, bringing you mental wellness and clarity.
Adaptogenic herbs are my favorite kinds of herbs, because of how much you can feel them working in your body. When your body produces too much cortisol (the stress hormone), it can wear you down mentally and physically. Nutrients, like ashwagandha and schisandra, calm cortisol levels, reducing stress.
Tim O’Brien, CEO, The Healthy Place
2. Vitamin B12 can optimize your cognitive functions.
FACT: a vitamin B12 deficiency can cause low levels of neurotransmitters, which will result in depression, anxiety, decreased concentration, and poor sleep.
Bioactive, natural B12 (methylcobalamin) is the most essential of all nutrients, because all others cannot work well unless there are optimal levels of this vitamin. It is required in optimal amounts to produce neurotransmitters—the chemical messengers that allow communication between brain cells. Every aspect of a healthy mind, including increased mood, focus, creativity, and productivity, is dependent on brain cells having enough of it.
Sheldon Zablow, MD nutritional psychiatrist San Diego, CA
3. Don’t just focus on what you eat, but how you eat it.
The cleanest, most nutritious foods won’t serve you if your body can’t absorb them properly.
When running from one stressful activity to another, stress hormones rise, and the body diverts blood (and energy) to the survival organs and systems. Digestion and assimilation take the backseat. Even high-quality foods consumed while on-the-run will trigger an inflammatory response.
You get greater value from fresh food, or partially offset the ravages of "cheat" meals, by deliberately pausing for 30 seconds before you eat. Take a moment to breathe. For each breath, lengthen your exhalation, and shorten your inhalation. Give yourself time to appreciate the hard work that went into the meal. Altering your breathing pattern forces the body into parasympathetic rest-and-digest mode, so your body can absorb the nutrients more effectively.
Nicholas Urban, Peak Performance Coach, Outliyr
4. L-tyrosine can help you focus on what is important.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid (found in meat, milk, tofu, beans, pumpkin seeds, and wild rice, as well as supplement form) that helps the body produce enzymes, thyroid hormones and helps nerve cells communicate. L-tyrosine is used to produce noradrenaline, epinephrine, and dopamine, hormones that help reduce stress and promote a calm, clearer mind.
By increasing these neurotransmitters, L-tyrosine promotes a feeling of well being and affects how you manage stress. Supplementation may improve energy, mood, and help you focus on what is important. Because L-Tyrosine can be stimulating, it’s best not to take it in the evening or on a daily basis.
Lynell Ross, Nutritionist
5. Peppermint essential oil gives you mood-boosting energy.
My favorite supplement to bring mental calm is peppermint essential oil. It’s an all-natural product with a powerful but pleasant scent that makes you feel good.
The most active ingredient in peppermint is menthol, which gives its mood-boosting effect. Peppermint oil has the ability to improve circulation making it a safe solution for supporting a healthy mind.
You can access the power of peppermint aromatically, in a diffuser or just wafted straight from the bottle. It can also be applied topically on the skin and is especially effective around your temples (with a carrier oil). The easiest method? Just add a few drops to a cup of water or in your favorite tea.
Tuula Vartiainen, Health Coach, Keho&Co
6. Give in to basil for a relaxed mind.
A relaxed mind is a healthy mind. In Ayurvedic medicine, one of the easiest ways to enhance your health and mental focus is by introducing fresh and dried herbs, herbal tinctures, and herbal supplements into your diet and lifestyle. Basil is at the top of that list!
Not only does basil enhance the flavor of almost any food, but for centuries ‘Tulsi’ – or Holy Basil (Ocimum sanctum) – has been used as an adaptogen and nootropic to reduce stress and anxiety.
Clinical trials also show that holy basil enhances mood, by stimulating neurotransmitters that are important to cognitive function. This enzyme is important for learning and memory and belongs to the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes our muscles, slows our heart rate, and makes us more receptive and mentally and physically adaptable, expanding our potential to be more centered.
Michelle Didner, Certified Holistic Health Coach
The wellness experts agree! Adaptogenic herbs are one of the best natural solutions for reducing chronic stress.
While they may sound like rare ingredients you can only find in a magical forest, adaptogens are actually quite easy to access, especially with KOR’s adaptogen-rich juice shots, including:
- Vitality: for turmeric
- Focus Fuel: for lion’s mane mushroom and rhodiola
- Immune+: for cordyceps and astragalus
- Restore: for goji berry
- And of course… De-Stress: for passionflower and Reishi mushroom
Add KOR to your stress-relieving routine, and feel better every day.