Stress & Nutrition

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

Stress — all of us know — is a major obstacle to living. It is an impediment to eating well; it also affects what we ‘chomp.’

Managing stress has a positive impact inasmuch as disarming its stranglehold is indispensable when making effective changes in life.

If stress is one big trigger for over-eating, and also for eating poorly, there are certain diets that also undermine one’s self-value, and the will to be well — in our mind and body.

As Dr Edward A Taub, MD, a renowned wellness physician and pioneer, explains, “Diets put you under so much mental and emotional stress; they have a built-in mechanism for failure.”

Stress begins in our mind, all right. This does not necessarily mean that there aren’t other situations that trigger stress. However, the fact remains: it’s our own mental and emotional response to them that ‘engineers’ most of the damage.

The best way to respond to stress is by cultivating a strong mind that has the wherewithal to protect you. This explains why a new blueprint of 21st century medicine, to combat stress, is related to nutrition. Of nutrition not just as a vital foundation, but as a viable roadmap that puts you in control, so much so stress would no longer govern you and/or what you eat.

As Dr Taub eulogises, “Healthful, high-energy foods can help you in dealing with stress.” But, one ought to know how to separate the chaff from the grain. If you thought of fudge cookies as your common weapon against stress, then you’re fighting a losing battle. However, if you thought of nourishing your body with fresh, high-energy, fibre-rich food, during stressful events, you’d remain in control, and also give your body and mind the power to resolve them.

Stress makes us susceptible to illness and disease; it also diminishes the body’s amazing ability to heal itself. It weakens our body’s immune system; and, if it persists, it makes our defence mechanisms, or immunity, vulnerable. Sadly, there isn’t a vaccination against stress. But, what we have is something that is available within us. Its only side-effects, as Dr Taub again envisages, are wonderfully positive. Because, protection against stress lies between your two ears.

The idea is simple; it is also profound. Balanced energy inoculates us against stress. Food is more than just vitality. It is energy-medicine, at its best. But, the bottom line, as Taub emphasises, is, “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

The novel strategy dwelled upon, you’d agree, is the best way to balance your body, and your life.

But, the important point is how well do we all know that dietetics, or nutrition, as medicine, has not been given the attention it richly, truly, also logically, deserves in our medical school curriculum and healthcare system.

It’s time we do propelled the idea and took it to the next level — together.

Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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