28 March 2015

Does mental stress take a toll on your energy needs?

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As we manage the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, we sometimes skip meals and to compensate it we overeat the next time. Do we need extra energy to deal with these stress?

More to Ponder……

Stress is a condition that threatens the body’s emotional wellbeing of a physically healthy person. The signs and symptoms of mental stress cannot be easily distinguished from that of a physical stress since both are one and the same.

Human beings need some amount of stress for their welfare. A fair amount of stress is necessary for good health.

For example, boredom is stressful for many people and feel depressed over the course of time. Mental stresses related to ambition, desire and drive are said to be positive forms of stress while anxiety, tension, strain are said to be negative forms of stress.

Too much of stress is associated with early onset of diabetes, heart diseases, hypertension, gastrointestinal diseases, cancer, etc. All of these are related to nutrition.

People of Type A personality who are very ambitious and impatient tend to have high cholesterol, high sugar, and rapid heartbeat. Ulcers and gastro intestinal diseases are intensified by excessive mental stress.

People with mental stress may not tolerate certain foods when they are stressed and same food is accepted when they are free from emotional stress. This may be due to the impairment of gastrointestinal system, decreased gut movement, decreased enzyme secretion, loss of appetite, distention, and episodes of gastric pains, diarrhoea and constipation.

Effect of emotional stress including food intolerance vary from person to person, also in same person vary at different times depending on the extent of activation of autonomic nerves system.

Some people respond to stress by eating more while some respond by starving. Thus mental stress can lead to under nutrition or over nutrition.

Nutritional Requirements

Dietary experts recommend adequate intake of food like a normal healthy person. A diet that contains sufficient amount of whole grains, vegetables, fruits and sufficient amount of liquid is advised. Various supplements may fortify body against emotional stress. They comprise vitamin B to support adrenal glands, magnesium and calcium for tranquilising effect.

Additional energy requirements are advocated only for persons who respond to stress with increased muscular or physical activity to sustain their ideal weight.


Image Credit: Flickr/ thornypup

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