Red Hot Riding Hood Anxiety increases requirements for several nutrients, including the B vitamins, the antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. A diet low in any or all of these nutrients only escalates stress-caused damage to the body. For example, low vitamin C  raises cortisol levels, aggravating the stress response. Anxiety increases magnesium losses, which also aggravates the stress response. In short, to cope better and stay healthy eat well prior to and during times of anxiety, by following these rules: 1) cut out or cut back on caffeine, which only aggravates the stress response and blocks absorption of important nutrients, such as iron; 2) limit or avoid alcohol, which interferes with a good-night’s sleep; 3) keep supper light and eat your biggest meal by mid-afternoon; 4) drink water to help curb dry mouth and heart palpitations; 5) say “no” to sugar, which aggravates tiredness and anxiety; 6) focus on fiber- and antioxidant-rich beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains keep you regular at a time when you otherwise might suffer from cramps and constipation; and 7) eat regularly by spreading your food into little meals and snacks throughout the day. Finally, exercise every day to “burn” up the stress hormones and relax the body for a good night’s sleep. Photo credit: Tom via Compfight