It is also advisable to make sure you have enough Vitamin B complex (comprising several different B vitamins), Vitamin E and Vitamin C in your diet, particularly when you feel pressured and stressed. These vitamins are required for a number of vital body processes. Vitamin C is required for fighting infections and wound healing, and Vitamin B complex for good mental activity and many of the body’s chemical processes. They are also needed to make the hormones used during the stress response, and there is some evidence suggesting that inadequate Vitamin C levels may encourage the accumulation of cholesterol in arteries. Foods rich in Vitamin C are blackcurrants, rosehips, citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables such as Brussel sprouts and cabbage. Vitamins of the B complex are found in a variety of foods; rich sources are wholegrain cereals, yeast and meat.

Vitamin E is necessary to keep the membranes of our cells healthy and it may play a beneficial role in the ageing process. Rich sources of Vitamin E are vegetable oils, wheatgerm, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, brown rice and wholegrain cereals.

A well-balanced diet should provide an adequate amount of Vitamin C and B complex; however, to ensure you are not lacking these two vitamins when under stress, we advise you to take supplements. A Vitamin C supplement of up to 400mg/day is adequate; taking over this amount for months at a time could cause kidney stones. Take Vitamin B complex according to the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) shown on the package.

Supplements of Vitamin E can also be taken. This should be with a meal since the presence of polyunsaturated fat is necessary for the absorption of Vitamin E. It is advisable not to take more than 300 units (200 mg) per day, and to use the

natural dtocopherol rather than the synthetic dltocopherol (the synthetic form contains only about one tenth of the natural form, so it is less biologically beneficial for us). Read the labels on the containers carefully.

Vitamins C and E and some minerals, such as selenium, have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants render harmless the toxic chemicals, called free radicals, produced normally by our body. Free radicals can damage the cells of the body and have been linked to a number of disease processes.

A number of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamins B, C and E, are required for the synthesis of the stress hormones, therefore our antioxidant levels can become depleted during periods of stress. This will expose our cells to potential damage from free radicals, so taking dietary supplements of antioxidants can help counteract the depletion of antioxidants during stress.

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