Heart Disease and Stress
Can What I Eat Help Fight Stress?
Your body is able to fight stress and heart disease better when you take the time to eat well-balanced meals. Eat a variety of foods each day, including lean meats, fish, or poultry, enriched or whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables, and low-fat dairy products.
About 55%-60% of your daily intake of calories should come from carbohydrates, no more than 25%-30% from of your caloric intake should come from fat and 10%-15% should come from protein.
Guidelines for Healthy Eating
- Eat a wide variety of healthy foods.
- Eat in moderation -- control the portions of the foods you eat.
- Reach a healthy weight and maintain it.
- Eat at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
- Eat food that is high in dietary fiber such as whole grain cereals, legumes, and vegetables.
- Minimize your daily fat intake. Choose foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
- Limit your consumption of sugar and salt.
- Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink.
- Make small changes in your diet over time.
- Combine healthy eating habits with a regular exercise program.
What if Sleep Problems Are Contributing to my Stress?
If you cannot sleep and it's causing you stress or making it worse, try these tips:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Make sure your bed and surroundings are comfortable. Arrange the pillows so you can maintain a comfortable position.
- Keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
- Use your bedroom for sleeping only; don't work or watch TV in your bedroom.
- Avoid napping too much during the day. At the same time, remember to balance activity with rest during recovery.
- If you feel nervous or anxious, talk to your spouse, partner, or a trusted friend. Get your troubles off your mind.
- Listen to relaxing music.
- Talk to your doctor before taking any sleeping aid.
- Take diuretics or "water pills" earlier, if possible, so you don't have to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
- If you can't sleep, get up and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Don't stay in bed worrying about when you're going to fall asleep.
- Avoid caffeine.
- Don't exercise within two to three hours of bedtime.