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LIST: How to fight burnout and stress with food |

Health And Family

LIST: How to fight burnout and stress with food

Dolly Dy-Zulueta -
LIST: How to fight burnout and stress with food
A change in eating habits can help the body fight burnout.

MANILA, Philippines — Feeling tired and anxious all the time? Finding it difficult to concentrate on the job at hand? You may be experiencing crisis fatigue, which kicks in when stressful events happen for an extended period — like the pandemic. It may have had a delayed effect on you, or you’re feeling burnout because you’ve been pushing yourself to the limit.

According to the data released by Sekaya, a Filipino plant-based brand produced by Unilab’w natural products company Synnovate Pharma Corporation, the human body is built to deal with bouts of stress with the help of stress hormone cortisol, which can help fight inflammation, manage blood pressure and protect overall well-being.

But if you’re always on the edge for a longer time, excessive cortisol levels may have debilitating effects on your body. You may experience anxiety and irritability and have high blood pressure and heart palpitations. These may cause you to feel more tired and burnt out, which may affect the way you deal with people as well as everyday challenges.

According to Dr. Rolando Balburias, a General Internal Medicine and Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM)-Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner, exercise, meditation and a daily routine can help lower stress levels and manage fatigue. Apart from these, he stressed that the importance on checking food choices and intake.

“It’s not just the hormones that are responsible for making us feel burnt out. What we eat also plays an important role because the lack of micronutrients, enzymes and antioxidants in our body can cause energy deficiency, making us feel fatigued and stressed easily,” said Dr. Balburias.

Here are some smart eating habits that you should keep in mind especially when you’re dealing with long-term stress.

Dr. Rolando Balburias

Choose carbs wisely. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body, but highly refined carbs like sweets and white bread, may cause carb crash.

“To keep your energy up the entire day and prevent getting the afternoon slump, it’s important to eat unrefined carbs and foods high in fiber such as brown rice, spinach, kale, peas, beets, barley grass and malunggay,” advised Dr. Balburias.

Eat foods that fight inflammation. Stress can cause inflammation, which is the body’s response to stressors.

“The problem comes when you have chronic stress as it also causes chronic inflammation, which can be damaging to your health,” Dr. Balburias pointed out.

Chronic inflammation affects the brain's ability to reach and maintain a level of alertness, leading to exhaustion. It is also a common precursor or symptom of some health problems like depression and cardiovascular disease.

“You can prevent inflammation by turning to anti-inflammatory eating. Start by eating the rainbow or eating colorful plant foods that are high in anti-oxidants like leafy greens, berries, whole grains, ginger and turmeric,” he said.

Omega-3 can also be beneficial in fighting chronic inflammation. Fish may be what's most associated with Omega-3, but it can also be sourced from soy, pecans and walnuts.

Stay hydrated. Dehydration can aggravate fatigue since the body depends on water to lubricate joints, regulate temperature, ensure proper digestion, help transport oxygen to the cells, and more.

Dr. Balburias explained: “Staying hydrated throughout the day is a must; it’s not an option. Water can help you power through your exercises and daily tasks at home and at work.”

Colorful plant foods are high in anti-oxidants.

Learn to use protein efficiently. Insufficient protein intake can also contribute to fatigue as this macronutrient helps the body repair and build tissues and provides a longer-lasting energy source.

To maximize how your body uses protein, Dr. Balburias recommends spacing it out over the day’s meals and snacks instead of loading it up in one sitting. “It would be also wise to eat your carbs with protein, since the latter takes longer to digest and absorb. When you eat it with a carbohydrate, it also slows the release of sugar into your bloodstream. You get sustained energy without the crash.”

To increase your protein without stuffing your body with meat, he suggested going for healthier plant protein sources such as whole grains, beans and other legumes, and nuts.

With the many stressors that you face in life, burnout seems inevitable. But it doesn’t mean that you should accept it as it is, especially when that burnout has also kept you from living life to the fullest and reaching your full potential.

Beating burnout may feel like an uphill battle, but a simple tweak in your eating habits, along with adopting a healthier outlook on life, can help do the trick.

Eating whole grains, nuts and beans increase protein intake without eating meat.

RELATED: Boost your mood with these 'happy foods'

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