World Health Organisation has a figure to share: By next year, 100 million Indians would be cardiac patients, nearly 60% of the global pool. That’s mainly because you are genetically three times more vulnerable to cardiac problems as compared to Americans or Europeans, says ace cardiologist Dr Devi Shetty. Worse, such stress related disorders don’t spare even those in their early 20s. The usual causes are high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high alcohol intake, high stress, obesity, faulty food habits and lack of physical activity. But even as you change your life style and roll out our yoga mats, you should be on our guards and go for cardiac check ups twice a year.
According to the American Heart Association Discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It could feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
Vitamins and Minerals for Stress
There are various ways in which one can deal with stress and prevent stress from adversely affecting our body, vitamins and minerals can play a vital role in managing stress and anxiety.
Here are some of the vitamins and minerals that play a vital role in how our body prepares itself during stress.
B-Complex vitamins are vital to your emotional wellness. Since these cannot be stored in the body, you have to depend on our daily diet to supply them. Moreover, alcohol, refined sugars, nicotine and caffeine destroy B vitamins leading to deficiency of these essential micro nutrients.
or thiamine is used for converting blood sugar or glucose to energy. With inadequate levels of thiamine the body loses energy. This may lead to fatigue, anxiety and sometimes, thoughts of suicide. Thiamine deficiency can also cause memory problems, insomnia and problems in the gastrointestinal tract. Good sources of Vitamin B1 include whole grain cereals, brown rice, sunflower seeds and oats.
or niacin is necessary for normal functioning of the nervous system. It is necessary for the synthesis of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that keeps you calm. Deficiencies of niacin can produce agitation and anxiety. Fish and meat products are good sources of Vitamin B3 compared to plant products. Among plant products, good sources of vitamin B3 are green leafy vegetables, asparagus, whole grains, avocados, dates and figs.
or pantothenic acid plays an important role in oxidation of fats, carbohydrates and certain amino acids. In conjunction with folic acid and vitamin C it regulates the functioning of adrenal glands that are responsible for stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Rich sources of vitamin B5 are whole grains, avocados, yogurt, chicken, sweet potatoes and broccoli.
or pyridoxine is essential for metabolism of amino acids, the building blocks of all proteins and some hormones. This is required for synthesis of serotonin, dopamine and melatonin. These neurotransmitters and the hormone (melatonin) are essential for nervous system function and keep you calm. Good sources of vitamin B6 include meats, whole grains, sunflower seeds, bananas, spinach and turnip greens.
is vital for red blood formation. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can lead to pernicious anemia, which can potentially cause mood swings, paranoia, irritability, confusion, dementia, hallucinations, or mania. Good sources of vitamin B12 are meat, dairy products, eggs and full-fat milk.
is a strong antioxidant necessary for neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals ‘‘are high-energy particles that ricochet wildly and damage cells.” Extra antioxidants prove useful in managing stress and anxiety as the body produces more free radical when you are stressed. Excellent sources of Vitamin C are Indian gooseberries, lychees, oranges, parsley, broccoli, papaya and strawberries
Stress contributes to depletion of magnesium in the body. Its deficiency can lead to confusion, anxiety, agitation and hallucinations. Leafy green vegetables are good sources of magnesium. Other good sources are pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, grain bran, banana and shrimps.
Low level of calcium has a negative impact on the central nervous system. Calcium deficiency can cause nervousness, anxiety, numbness and irritability. Calcium is found in good quantities in sesame seeds, yogurt, milk, cheese, blackstrap molasses and collard greens.
Inadequate level of zinc causes lethargy, apathy and lack of appetite. Low level of zinc leads to toxic levels of copper, which in turn leads to fearfulness and paranoia. Good sources of zinc include, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, chickpeas and green peas.
Besides anemia, iron deficiency can also cause depression. Good sources of iron are dark green leafy vegetables, chickpeas, dried figs, dried apricots, avocados, yogurt, brown rice, bran and bananas.
Manganese serves as a catalyst for proper use of vitamin B and C. It also plays a role in formation of amino acids and its deficiency can spur depression due to reduced production of serotonin and norepinephrine. Good sources of manganese are green vegetables, wholegrain cereals and nuts.
Depletion of this mineral is associated with depression, crying, fatigue and weakness. Rich sources of potassium are sweet potatoes, swiss chards, lima beans, soybeans, avocados, bananas, yogurt and spinach
Strengthening our relationships
When you have trusted friends and family members, life's pressures don't seem as overwhelming. So you should spend time with those you love and don't let your responsibilities keep you away from your social life.
The art of reaching out
Help is always just a step away. You should not refrain from reaching out. For instance, you can just go for a walk with a workout buddy. Schedule a weekly dinner date Take a class or join a club.
If possible, take small cat naps during the day for 15-20 mins. Relax. Meditation and light exercise of 2-3 mins always help. This rejuvenates the system, freshened up memory cells, the mind and ensures proper oxygenation of the body. Don’t take work home. Convert weekends into small holidays The golden rule of exercise to beat stress is to go for walk/exercise at least four times a week for 40 minutes each day. Change lifestyle, but be on guard. The cumulative benefits of exercise, good diet and medications are negated with just a couple of cigarettes. Giving up smoking can improve health by nearly 80%. Sleeping is the best remedy for stress. It may be useful once in a while to catch up on your sleep in the weekends, but don't compromise on your daily sleeping habits
At least once a year do a comprehensive check up if you are 40 plus. This threshold is lower for those with a family history of cardiac problems. Remember, blanket lipid profile and blood sugar test are not just not enough