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Stress and Nutrition
Author: Cleaves M. Bennett MD FACP
Monday, January 07, 2008

Proper nutrition is very important in any successful stress management program. We've talked before about the fact that coffee excites your ENS. Drinking coffee to cope with stress is like pouring gasoline on a fire to put it out. And we've talked about sugar and how it often stimulates the brain. We've discussed salt and the role it plays in hypertension. And so on. Let's just say here that good nutrition is one of the cornerstones of successful stress management.

If you can avoid eating sugary things that make you uptight or "wired," and things that make you sleepy (like rich, fatty meals) your ENS will be much better able to cope with stress. Okay? And remember that, when you overeat, that just puts more strain on your body too. Another thing, when the body is under stress it needs more vitamins. Many doctors profess skepticism about taking vitamin supplements. But we do live in stressful times and the food we eat isn't always as rich in vitamins as it would be if we were living in the middle of a forest or savanna or delta, and getting our food from all natural sources. I myself take a special B combo which I swear has virtually eliminated my allergy to cats in general, and “Patches” mycalico in particular. I also take 1.5 grams of C because the Nobel Laureate Dr. Linus Pauling has convinced me that it is a good idea. He said that if we ate as much vitamin C as gorillas do, (pound for pound) we’d be getting 8 to 12 grams a day. Now that’s a lot of grapefruit! And that’s when we’re not even under much stress. If you’re sick you may need two or three times as much.

Even to the skeptics most vitamin supplements are at worst harmless, as long as you don't take too much vitamin A, E or D. So if you want to take some of the B vitamins and vitamin C, it's your money, and the vitamins may be of some value to you, particularly if you're burning them up fast because you've been under a lot of stress.

But I would like to warn you—if you are taking large doses of vitamins, be consistent about it. When you take a lot of vitamins your body becomes used to them. It learns to metabolize them faster. So you don't want to take a lot of vitamin C for a while and then stop—because then there's a good chance you'll be worse off than if you‘d never taken any C at all.

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