How to diet during stressful periods in life

How to diet during stressful periods in life

By Pernille Hvidberg

One very important aspect of recovering from and defending against stress is diet. How and what we eat are vital.

When you have been stressed and burned out, your body easily suffers from loss of nutrients, as the production of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol steals vitamins, minerals and good fatty substance from your body. The body needs these nutrients for the production of the vital melatonin, serotonin, oestrogen, testosterone and D-vitamin, which keep the body healthy, balanced and stress free. And often, due to stress, digestion is reduced and, therefore, vitamins and minerals aren’t being optimally absorbed in the body.

For this reason, when suffering from long periods of stress, it’s advised to eat the proper quantity of different kinds of foods.

To de-stress, the proportion of food on your plate should consist of the following:

–      Protein 25%

–      Carbohydrate 50%

–      Good fat 25 %

Good protein comes from: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products

Vegan sources of protein: nuts, lentils, pulses and beans

Good carbohydrate comes from: starch and dietary fibre as coarse cereals, fruit and vegetables

Good fat comes from: omega 3 such as linseed oil, rape seed oil, and omega 6 such as olive oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, nuts, eggs, poultry and cereals

Important vitamins:

–      B-vitamin: meat, fish, poultry, pulses, milk, eggs, wholegrains

–      E-vitamin: nuts, vegetable oil, cabbage, lettuce, whole grains

–      C-vitamin: all kinds of colourful vegetables

These vitamins help us to strengthen the memory, the adrenal glands, and the immune system. And they also act as antioxidants.

Important minerals:

–      Magnesium: cereals, beans, brown rice, nuts, meat, green vegetables

–      Selenium: cereals, eggs, shellfish

–      Calcium: dairy products, coarse vegetables



These minerals support the body’s energy circulation and impulses between the nerves and the muscles. They calm the nerves and have a great influence on our mood.

Often when the production of cortisol is in the body we desire sugar, salt and stimulants such as coffee and alcohol. It’s best to avoid these and also processed carbohydrates like white bread and pastas.

Try to eat clean, real and whole food. It doesn’t have to be difficult and time-consuming preparing the food. Make it easy; simple dishes, prepare food for more days and you can easily buy frozen vegetables, fish, berries, etc. Of course, choose ingredients and flavours that you like.

In some cases, taking supplements can be necessary. But in general, try to get vitamins and minerals through your diet.


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