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Fighting Stress with Nutrition

If you walk through the Austrian mountains with your eyes open, you will see how the sun, the wind and the rain have worn down the rock. Nevertheless, bedrock defies harsh weather conditions and has thus come to symbolise resilience. We humans often wish we were this indestructible, especially when life confronts us with challenges that put our own resilience to a severe test. Some difficulties, stressful situations, fears and worries seem like insurmountable mountains. It can take all our strength to climb out of the deep valley to the mountain peak. The stony and difficult path challenges our will. But in spite of all physical and mental obstacles, we keep going rather than capitulate to the mountain.

Resilient people are better at climbing out of difficult or stressful situations. Where other people may stand at the brink of the abyss and say, “I can’t go on any more”, these “human roly-poly toys” demonstrate their inner strength: being deeply rooted within themselves, they are good at dealing with obstacles and coping with setbacks. What’s more, they thrive on adversity and become even stronger as a result. Mental resilience can take on different forms, depending on the individual. Resilience is not innate, it is dependent on a variety of factors and, according to researchers, can also be influenced. The results of a new study indicate that including plenty of vitamins and minerals in your diet can affect your resilience. Micronutrients form a solid base that stops you from getting knocked down by stress and other pressures of modern life. Here is an overview of the most important stress-busters.

Staying calm under pressure – these minerals and vitamins are here to help

Magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium: mineral stress-managers

A good supply of all the important micronutrients can help you stay strong and meet the demands of everyday life. Unfortunately, a well-balanced diet often falls by the wayside when you’re under stress. This is why high-quality dietary supplements can help you get through stressful periods by delivering a sufficient supply of vitamins and minerals. Magnesium is seen as the anti-stress mineral par excellence. It helps support normal mental and nervous function and contributes to reducing fatigue and exhaustion. Potassium also plays a key role in stressful situations. This mineral supports the normal function of our nervous system and helps maintain normal blood pressure. Stress can also lead to the increased formation of free radicals. When this gets out of hand, it is known as oxidative stress, which is potentially dangerous to the cells in our bodies. This is where the two trace elements zinc and selenium come in. They both contribute to protecting our cells from oxidative stress.

Study: minerals make it easier to shrug off stress

That’s the theory! But what happens in practice? Do people feel a difference if they use these minerals to protect themselves against high levels of stress? In 2018, an Austrian placebo-controlled intervention study investigated this very question and came to a clear conclusion: after taking magnesium, potassium, zinc and selenium supplements (Biogena Erdensalz® Mineralien) for only eight weeks, the participants’ mental resilience in situations of severe stress increased significantly.

B vitamins: great partners for strengthening your nerves and combating fatigue

Whenever the hectic pace of everyday life calls for strong nerves and mental performance, B vitamins come into play. A functional energy metabolism and a stable nervous system form the basis for successfully coping with stress and other pressures. Our bodies need vitamins B12 and B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and biotin to maintain a normal energy metabolism. Riboflavin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, pantothenic acid and niacin also contribute to reducing fatigue and exhaustion. Thiamine, biotin and niacin help our nerves function smoothly.  Pantothenic acid supports mental performance whenever the hectic pace of day-to-day life places strong demands on us. So it is particularly important to keep our stocks of vitamin B well-filled during stressful periods in our lives.

Sleep: an undervalued source of improved resilience

Restful sleep helps with our mental hygiene, breaks down stress and promotes important learning and adaptation processes. But who isn’t aware of this? After all, our well-being and performance always suffer after a restless night. Adults who would like to use micronutrients to improve the quality of their sleep can take special dietary supplements such as extracts of ashwagandha root or hops. Ashwagandha can help you fall asleep and hops contribute to a normal sleeping pattern. Nutrients such as magnesium or vitamin B6, which support nervous system function, can be useful additional supplements.  They can contribute to a good night’s sleep without causing drowsiness during the day.

The traditional plant trio for stress and fatigue

“There’s a herb for everything.” If we need help coping with stress and other pressures, we can always turn to the plant kingdom. For example, extracts of the maca tuber, ginseng root and the guarana plant are all natural strategies for promoting resilience. While maca enhances physical and mental performance, ginseng and guarana reduce fatigue and contribute to cognitive performance. Since the three plant extracts are a perfect complement to each other, and taking them in combination is particularly beneficial.

Moving mountains...

No matter how difficult the ascent may be, those who reach the summit are rewarded with a breathtaking view. But what is even more rewarding is the extraordinary elation one feels at having conquered the mountain. Micronutrients are valuable companions and indispensable tools for navigating the mountains of life and arriving at our destination in good shape.

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