The world we live in today has made stress a part and parcel of our life. While we all have various stresses in life and it might seem like there is no way out of this, how we handle our stress can make all the difference. Stress management is one of the most important things one should learn. It can prove to be a powerful tool for wellness, especially when it comes to elder care for older adults. It includes various techniques and practices such as working out, meditating, practising mindfulness, spending time in nature, etc. However, one very important, and often overlooked pillar of stress management is nutrition.
When it comes to practising stress management and looking after your overall well-being, the food you eat can either be your strongest ally or your biggest enemy. The quality of nutrition you take in over time can impact your emotions, motivation, energy levels, and mood. There have been various studies that have proven this relationship between what we eat or drink, and how we feel. Unhealthy eating patterns can drastically increase your levels of stress and increase your risk of developing health problems.
This also means that one can effectively use food as a tactic to fight against stress as a part of home care nursing. A well-balanced and nutritious diet is the most important element of good health and elder care. In this article, we will tell you how you can control and manage your stress through the right nutrition as a part of your home care nursing.
- Increase your protein intake: Prioritising your protein intake can do wonders for your body. This is especially true if you are stressed. When the body is chronically stressed, it has increased demand for protein. Consuming adequate protein can help in stabilizing your blood sugar, keep you full and curb overeating. Protein provides our body with tryptophan which helps with mood support. The average estimated protein requirement for a person is about 0.7-1.8 per kg of body weight daily. To consume protein while offering elderly care, choose lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs, lentils, beans, nuts, and seeds in each meal. It is a good idea to hire a home attendant for the elderly to take care of their nutrition needs and adequate protein consumption.
- Eat more fiber: There have been many studies in recent years that have examined the connection between gut bacteria and stress-related disorders. Working on your gut health is one of the best things you can do for your body to fight against stress and function better overall. Eating a diet that is high in fiber is amongst the best and most effective ways to improve your gut health. This will in turn reduce your levels of stress and help you function and feel better mentally, physically, and emotionally. To add more fiber to your diet, you can consume beans, berries, green peas, almonds, pistachios, flaxseed, sesame seeds, lots of green vegetables, whole grains, etc.
- Add omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy, essential acids that are known to reduce anxiety and stress while boosting concentration, and improving mood. It helps in reducing the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone of the body. It also helps in reducing inflammation which is essential for good health. One of the best ways of including omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is by consuming avocados as they also contain various other essential nutrients and phytochemicals. Other sources of omega-3 fatty acids include nuts and seeds, fish, seafood, and plant oils. Hiring a home attendant for elderly can them manage their diet and fiber intake in an optimal way.
- Reduce caffeine and other stimulants: While most of us feel low on energy and cannot function without a caffeine dose, it is worthy to note that caffeine and other stimulants are not necessarily good for our health. In the long run, these stimulants can dehydrate the body and hamper the absorption of key nutrients in our bodies. It can alter the effects of several hormones including adenosine, adrenaline, cortisol, and dopamine, and elevate our levels of stress. It is a good idea to consume these stimulants in moderation or avoid them completely.
- Eat complex carbs: While all carbohydrates prompt the brain to make more serotonin, it is a healthier idea to consume complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and provide a steady supply of this feel-good chemical. Consuming complex carbohydrates can also help in stabilizing your blood sugar levels and help you feel balanced. Good sources of complex carbohydrates include beans, peas, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, 100% whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes, and other vegetables. Home care nursing can be incredibly helpful for older adults to manage their food intake and eat a nutritious diet.
- Drink warm fluids: When it comes to warm fluids, it is not the nutrients that help reduce stress, but the feeling the fluids induce. Drinking a warm beverage is one of the quickest ways to make yourself feel calmer. It increases the feeling of warmth and has a soothing effect on our minds and body. A great way to inculcate this into your routine is by consuming herbal teas. Ceratin herbs, such as chamomile and lavender, have been shown to have relaxing effects on the mind and body and are a great way of winding down after a long day. Sipping on herbal teas can help you feel more centered and present and is a great alternative to consuming coffee and other energy drinks.
- Consume prebiotics and probiotics: Another great way to support a healthy gut is by consuming prebiotics and probiotics. They can help improve your gut health by promoting good bacteria in the gut. This can improve digestion, boost your immune system, protect you against harmful bacteria, and improve the absorption of nutrients in the body. Healthy prebiotic foods include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus, bananas, apples, etc. Good probiotic foods include yogurt, kefir, tempeh, kimchi, kombucha, pickles, etc. Hiring a home attendant for elderly can help a great deal in managing their intake of prebiotics and probiotics and healing their gut.
The food we eat makes more difference to our bodies than we can imagine. A well-balanced diet including all the essential nutrients is a basic necessity for our mind and body to function well and feel good.
Along with eating a nutritious diet as a part of your elder care, you can also include other stress-busting activities such as meditation, yoga, going for walks in nature, practicing sleep hygiene, indulging in relaxation activities like listening to music, reading a book, getting a massage, etc. If you feel the need too stressed, it is a good idea to seek help from a medical professional and seek the support of family and friends.
Elcare is an elderly care service provider that is dedicated to improving the physical and mental wellness of elders via various services including home nursing services and private duty nursing. For information about our Health & Wellness Advisory and other services, call us on 08045914567.