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Stressed Out? Eat Up!

By: Tara Coleman
Courtesy of the Total Gym Inside blog

You are so stressed out and busy that your sleep is either long and restless or solid but way too short. So you wake up and start pounding coffee to get going. There’s no time to eat so by the time you get around to it you are starving. Hunger in combination with the elevated stress hormone cortisol cause you to crave foods high in sugar, fat and salt. Poor sleep, caffeine side effects and blood sugar imbalance from poor nutrition leave you feeling tired, moody and unable to concentrate.

As Tara Coleman, a clinical nutritonist who write for the Total Gym Inside Blog states, this is a cycle in which too many of us find ourselves today. There are, however, several things that you can do to stack the cards in your favor and regain control:

  1. Cut out the caffeine after 2pm. OK, I know that I just lost half of you! I’m not saying get rid of it all together, just switch to decaf in the afternoon.  Caffeine stays in your system for 6 hours, so even if you are one of the people with a caffeine tolerance it will negatively affect your sleep.
  2. Increase your B-vitamins. B-vitamins support the entire nervous system as well as our stress response. They also aide in energy production so you will feel a natural increase in energy. Food sources include: liver, soy, broccoli, beans, lean meat, sprouted grains, salmon, nuts and eggs. You can also supplement with a B-50 complex found at your local health food store. Always take B-vitamin with food and don’t freak out when your urine turns neon yellow!
  3. Don’t forget to eat, especially breakfast. I know I sound like your grandma but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. It will start your day off with good fuel and help you focus. Stock your pantry and office with easy options like oatmeal so you can make sure that you always have something on hand. While I’m at it, don’t forget your jacket and would it kill you to pick up the phone every once in a while? (Sound like grandma?)
  4. Make sure everything you eat contains protein. Protein supports brain function, which in turn impacts mood, behavior and concentration. It will also give you sustained energy and decrease sugar cravings. No need to go Atkins with your protein (in fact, please don’t!), instead just include some protein with every meal. Food sources include: fish, meat, eggs, nuts & seeds, tofu, dairy, soy, beans and rice.
  5. Add in some Magnesium. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. Not the kind that causes you to speak gibberish and pass out, but the kind that helps pull your tense shoulders from your ears and quiet your mind so you can sleep. It is also one of the minerals that Americans are most deficient in. I recommend supplementing with a high quality Calcium/Magnesium Citrate before bed. It will also help with muscle soreness from all the exercise you may be doing to relieve stress!

Here’s to leading a calmer, happier life!

Visit Tara's website at Tara Coleman 

Tara Coleman is a Clinical Nutritionist living in San Diego, CA, and the newest spokesperson for Salada Tea. She will guest blog on Total Gym Inside twice a month with “Tara’s Friday Bite.” Leave us your comments with ideas for future topics or email Tara directly at

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