More Than Half of All Women Report: 'We're Stressed!'
"You wouldn?t dare think of putting sawdust into your car?s gas tank and expect it to run, but we often put the nutritional equivalent of that into our bodies and wonder why we feel the way we do," she says. "High-octane, quality food will help you manage your stress, because stress is often unavoidable."
Here?s how to go into battle with stress nutritionally well-armed, she says. "Cut back on caffeine and sugar, include two fruits and/or vegetables at every meal or snack, eat mini-meals instead of large meals, and cut back on alcohol," she says.
"Even if you eat perfectly, you still need to supplement with three basic pills" -- one multivitamin/mineral pill, one of 100 to 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E, and a calcium/magnesium supplement containing 500 mg of calcium and 250 mg of magnesium, Somer says.
In addition to better eating habits, certain mood-altering medicinal plants and herbs can also help women curb anxiety and depression, says Tori Hudson, ND, a professor of gynecology at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Ore., and author of the Women?s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine.
"Depression is diagnosed, on average, in two women for every man, and anxiety is the most frequently reported complaint among the general population -- affecting approximately 10% of the population," says Hudson. "And it occurs even more frequently in women."
She suggests St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. This herb works in several ways, including boosting levels of the mood chemical serotonin, which is thought to be important in preventing depression.
Another medicinal plant that helps treat anxiety is kava (Piper methysticum), she says. Researchers are not yet sure how it works. Other herbs -- such as ginkgo biloba, Korean and Siberian ginseng, and passion flower -- also may help improve mood, she says.
"There are numerous medicinal plants and herbal therapies that are reasonable options for people suffering from anxiety and depression and they have fewer side effects [than prescription drugs]," she says.