Stress Management: From the Inside Out
Most of us think of managing stress as something we do to control outside
influences that put us in that state of stress. While this is a totally logical way of
thinking, and while we’ve discussed how a plant-based diet can help you reduce and
control those stressful moments, there is more to stress than just what comes from the
outside. Managing stress is an inside-out job that only diet can help you tackle.
Research from the University of California, Berkeley revealed that short-term
stress may increase cognitive functioning and brain performance, but when stress is
chronic it damages the body and may be dangerous to your health (Indigoon, 2014).
Obviously, what you eat plays a huge role in the management of stress, but nutritional
stress is just as dangerous as external stressors and takes place when you eat foods that
are harmful to the body. In fact, Brendan Brazier who wrote The Thrive Diet, believes
that nutritional stress makes up around 40 percent of the stress load of the average
North American (Indigoon, 2014). This nutritional stress can be significantly decreased
via a plantarian diet, which includes better moods without mood swings, less anxiety
and less depression. With improved sleep, mental acuity, reduced inflammation, and
increased energy, the body’s nutritional stress level continues to decrease and it
becomes easier to cope with external stressors.
It is not uncommon to want to consume comfort foods when we are stressed at
work or at home. It is also quite common for many people to have to eat in a hurry,
especially when they have limited time for lunch at work or even school. However, fast
foods like pizza and burgers are high in fats that makes us feel sleepy and less able to
cope with outside stressors. While the body suffers from nutritional stress, it has no
ammunition to deal with all that external stress, a situation that can increase blood
pressure, elevate blood cholesterol, damage the arteries and raise the risk of
experiencing a heart attack (Eating Right, n.d.). Conversely, a diet that is high in fiber
and complex carbohydrates from raw fruits and vegetables calms the body without
decreasing energy and ensures that we have taken in the nutrients needed for a healthy
immune system (Eating Right, n.d.).
Chronic stress decreases the body’s ability to ward off diseases and sicknesses,
which is why it’s paramount to increase the consumption of raw fruits and vegetables
that are high in anti-oxidants. Carrots and even acorn squash contain high levels of
beta-carotene and citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges and limes contain high amounts
of Vitamin C that help decrease internal and external stress. By keeping the body in an
alkaline state, the body can thrive. This can only take place when only alkaline-forming
foods such as raw fruits and vegetables are eaten. Remember, the Standard American
Diet (SAD) is totally acid-forming because of the high consumption of meats, processed
foods, dairy and simple sugars (Brazier, 2014).
While many of those foods taste good and are fun to eat, the human body works
overtime to ensure a proper balance and return to a healthy and neutral alkaline level
(Brazier, 2014). “Adding more alkaline-forming foods will help slow down the leech of
calcium from your bones, helping maintain your bone health for years to come. They
also help fight free-radical damage and inflammation while supporting healthy cellular
regeneration within your body, so you can thrive” (Brazier, 2014).
The best indication that you’re consuming alkaline-based foods is the presence of
Chlorophyll such as the green found in dark, leafy greens, chlorella and spirulina. It’s
not the pH of the foods you consume that matter, it’s what happens to them when
they’re ingested. Citrus fruits are acidic, but they become alkaline-forming during the
digestion process. Stick with raw fruits and vegetables to keep internal and external
stress of the body to a minimum. You’ll be far happier, far more able to cope with life’s
ups and downs, and a pleasure to be around at all times of the day.
Brazier, B. (2014). Benefits of Alkaline-Forming Nutrition: If you want to thrive, your
body’s pH level matters. Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-
Eating Right to Reduce Stress (n.d.) Retrieved from
http://www.tryplantbasednutrition.com/eating-right- to-reduce- stress.html
Indigoon, R. (2014). Foods That Reduce Stress Levels & Improve Moods. Retrieved from
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2014/05/foods-that- reduce-stress- levels-improve-
Tuso, P., Stoll, S. R., & Li, W. W. (2015). A Plant-Based Diet, Atherogenesis, and
Coronary Artery Disease Prevention. The Permanente Journal, 19(1), 62–67.
http://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/14-036. PDF retrieved from