Support your body through stress.


May is mental health awareness month – a month-long campaign dedicated to highlighting the importance of acknowledging and finding ways to manage your own personal stress and mental health.

And whilst working on your own personal stressors is a key part of stress management, there is also a crucial role that nutrition and lifestyle adjustments can play. 

Read on for nutritionist Clarissa Lenherr’s top ways to support your body through stress.

Dietary tips:


Salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies – these wonderful, oily fish are high in omega3 essential fatty acids that have been shown to reduce symptoms of stress and help lower inflammation within the body. (1)


Often, when stress levels are elevated, we often forget to eat well and reach for quick options that tend to be high in sugar. Our body is designed to crave sugar when we are stressed, as it gives us quick and easy energy. However, in the long run, high consumption of sugar can exacerbate stress levels and lead to low energy and mood. When sugar cravings hit, reach for wholefood options such as fruit, dark chocolate or pair your sweet option with a fat and/or protein to help slow the release of sugar. Think peanut butter and apple or tahini stuffed dates.


When we consume caffeine, we pump our more of our stress hormones. When we are not in a stressed state, this can make us feel alert and motivated, but when we are stressed, this can actually trigger symptoms such as irritability, snappiness, mood swings and jitteriness. 

The NHS recommends we consume no more than 400mg of caffeine per day. However, if you are feeling stressed, you may wish to drink less than this or swap to lower caffeine alternatives. Green tea is a great alternative as it is not only significantly lower in caffeine, but also contains L-theanine which helps promote the release of GABA, our calming neurotransmitter.


Alcohol can impact our quality of sleep, leaving us more vulnerable to irritability and higher feelings of stress the next day. As well as keeping below the recommended maximum of 14 units per week, try out no and low alcohol alternatives, such as MEDA HUMAN’S Calm or Recovery beverage.

Lifestyle tips:


Meditation has been shown to reduce stress levels (2) by focusing on the mind-body connection and present moment awareness, helping to put the body at ease. (3) Try an at-home meditation app to get you started such as Calm, a flexible app with less structured programs and exercises to help manage anxiety. Alternatively, the Superhuman app is great for beginners, with cooking and cleaning meditation recordings, 95% of users felt a positive mood shift within a week.


Exercise helps to release chemicals in the brain called endorphins, which are also known as the body’s “natural painkillers”. These can help to reduce stress and improve sleep, even just ten minutes of exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects. Try low-intensity workouts such as incline walks, Pilates, swimming and yoga.


Get out for a walk into nature! Studies have shown that exposure to nature can help to reduce blood pressure and stress levels.(4) If you can’t get out of the house, don’t worry! Invest in some greenery for your home – it can have a similar effect!

References: (1) (2) (3),effects%20of%20stress%20%5B17%5D. (4)