Supporting our students through stress

Written by Professor David Russell in partnership with Charlotte Harbour FdSc Nutritional Therapeutics

Much like the definition of wellness, the theories that promise overall health are constantly evolving and often subjective. Here at Russell Partnership Consulting, we understand that the sector values student wellness and view health as a key driver in food and beverage recommendations – we agree that it is at the very heart.

However, research is continuing to highlight the elusive contributor that is stifling the overall wellness of our students, staff and what seems to be the vast majority of the globe: stress.

Thought leaders are proclaiming that stress may be just as, or more important than what we eat in regards to our longevity and health outcomes. Stress has even been dubbed “the most dangerous toxin in our lives”. Studies demonstrate that stress changes gene expression (which may heighten susceptibility disease), lowers the immune system and may even speed up the ageing process. This information is certainly daunting – so what can we do to support students and staff in times of stress?

Fortunately, there are actionable food related approaches we can implement to reduce and ease stress both biologically and psychologically:

1. Include stress-busting foods into the campus menus that contain key nutrients to biologically support stress:
● B vitamins – kefir, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, oily fish, chicken and green leafy vegetables
● Calcium and magnesium – oranges, kefir, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, salmon, beans and cruciferous vegetables
● Healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids – cold-water, wild-caught fish like salmon or sardines, coconut, nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil

2. Create calm, safe and inviting food spaces:
● Ensuring that the food environment is suitable for large groups, small gatherings and individual diners with both open and closed spaces. Combine quieter and louder areas for those who want to dine peacefully and busier areas for those wanting to socialise and de-stress with friends.

Remember that Russell Partnership Consulting can deliver nutritional strategies for your University campus. Get in touch to find out more

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