Good stress or short-term stress is a healthy natural response that enhances the immune system. It is the long-term chronic stress that affects our ability to make healthy choices and to fight infections.
To maximize the effects of "good stress," we need to find ways to cope with it fast. Fortunately, there are many things that we can do. Staying active and getting the right amount of sun is essential in managing stress. Check out the following tips that can help next time you find yourself in a stressful situation.
Exercise is the most underestimated de-stressing activity. Finding ways to stay active is very easy. As little as five minutes of exercise a day can be beneficial. Jumping jacks, dancing around the house, yoga, poolside meditation, gardening or even house chores are simple ways to stay active. Get moving by downloading our free exercise app "Walker Tracker" at the end of this article.
Get Your Vitamins
Antioxidants and B vitamins work together to keep you healthy. Fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains make the ideal "comfort foods." Dairy products, beans and meats also provide you with the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
Load Up on Vitamin D
Some studies have found a link between low levels of vitamin D and stress. Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient for health. Vitamin D helps nerves carry messages all over the body such as, "move your muscles," it supports the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, and together with calcium help keep bones strong.
Very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. Cod liver oil, salmon, and swordfish are among the best sources. Milk, yogurt, fortified orange juice, sardines, beef liver, eggs and mushrooms provide some vitamin D. For example 4oz. of cooked salmon meets 100% RDA of vitamin D for everyone. Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs) for Vitamin D – Males / Females 1-70 years old is 600 IU. 70+ years old is 800 IU. See sample day menu below.
The body can also make vitamin D when skin is exposed to the sun. Skin exposed to the sun through a window will not produce vitamin D. Cumulative 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm, two times per week, leads to sufficient production of vitamin D in the body. Don't forget your sunscreen when you go outside!
Sample Day Menu (604 IU)
1 Cup, Milk nonfat, reduced fat, or whole, vitamin D-fortified
¾ Cup, Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D (more heavily fortified cereals might provide more of the DV)
3 ounces, Tuna fish, canned in water, drained
2 slices Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce each
2 slices, Whole Wheat Bread with 1 tablespoon Margarine, fortified
2 -6 ounces, Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the DV for vitamin D, (more heavily fortified yogurts provide more of the DV)
1 large, Egg (vitamin D is found in yolk)
Plant Based / Non-Dairy Sample Menu (613IU)
Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 6 ounces (check labels, amount of added vitamin D varies)
Almond milk (all flavors), 1 cup
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, ¾ Cup (more heavily fortified cereals might provide more of the DV)
Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon
Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to UV, grilled, ½ cup
There are many benefits to eating well, from disease prevention to overall health and wellness. That’s why Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation have partnered with Kohl’s Cares on a program called #GiveMe5 to encourage children and families throughout the community to stay active and eat their five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Our partnership brings healthy eating tips and recipes to kids in local schools and to families at various community events throughout the year. For more information, please visit our #GiveMe5 page.