How to Prevent Modern-Day Burnout with Nutrition and Supplements

Burnout due to chronic workplace stress is nothing new. However, 2020 created a new kind of burnout because of the global pandemic. Stress and anxiety levels surged as people worldwide were forced to social distance, isolate, and quarantine. To keep businesses afloat, many companies transitioned to remote workforces. And while some people thrive in work-from-home set-ups, some have trouble coping. 

Even when the world reopened and the expectation that we could return to normal soon, the vaccine mandates and green passes, became exhausting. Many of us feel worn down, affecting our engagement and productivity levels. 

Increasing self-awareness, practicing mindfulness, and a mindset of positivity are the first steps to battling burnout. But you can also combat burnout with better diet choices, supplements, and lifestyle changes? Here’s how: 

Increase Magnesium Levels 

Protecting your mental health is crucial in times of stressful disruption. Magnesium plays an essential role in battling neuropsychiatric problems because of its involvement in metabolic reactions that calm the nervous system. Studies have shown that insufficient magnesium levels can increase the risk of anxiety, pain, and insomnia. [1] To boost magnesium levels in the body, you can consume magnesium-rich foods regularly. Such foods include: 

  • Pumpkin and chia seeds — a handful of each provides over 120mg magnesium.
  • Almonds and cashews — a handful of each provide ~80mg magnesium. Boiled spinach also provides ~80mg magnesium.
  • Peanuts, soy milk, oats, whole wheat bread, avocado, and brown rice are also rich in magnesium.

People especially at risk of magnesium deficiency include: 

  • Populations suffering from bowel diseases that lead to diarrhea, including Crohn’s disease, IBS, celiac disease.
  • People with type 2 diabetes
  • The elderly
  • Alcoholics. 

To stay relaxed and calm, these populations should consider supplementation with 200 mg magnesium citrate tablets 2-3 times a week.

Vitamin C

Studies suggest that vitamin C deficiency puts you at a higher risk of negative mood and cognitive decline. People with low levels of vitamin C manifest more issues with depression and cognitive impairment. [2] Therefore, ensuring you have sufficient levels of vitamin C in your diet can help protect mental health and make you less susceptible to burnout. [2] 

Vitamin C rich foods to include regularly in your diet include: 

  • All foods from the Broccoli family, including Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
  • Green and red peppers.
  • Leafy green vegetables.
  • All types of potatoes.
  • Tomatoes
  • Squash and pumpkins.
  • Citrus fruits and berries

Supplementation with vitamin C is less effective than consuming vitamin C-rich foods. However, suppose you are not ingesting enough vitamin C-rich foods; in that case, supplementing with liposomal or whole food vitamin C is indeed necessary. 

Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Deficiencies in omega-3 fatty acids increase the risk of developing mental disorders, including depression. [3] This is because of omega-3 fatty acids’ ability to travel through the blood-brain barrier. The healthiest forms of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation come from algae in a plant-based supplement.

Another way to increase your omega-3 fatty acid level is by eating more foods high in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), such as chia seeds, walnuts, and flaxseeds. These produce just the right amount of DHA necessary for your needs.

Don’t Skip Meals 

Overworking and skipping meals increase the risk of burnout. When you don’t eat sufficient carbohydrates for long periods or eat too many foods rich in animal protein, you will feel tired, and depending on your diet, your blood sugar levels may drop. Also, the lack of whole carbohydrates that keep your brain fueled will negatively impact your mood and energy meals.

To keep your body and mind calm yet energized to combat burnout, you want to eat daily:

  • Complex fiber-rich whole carbohydrates (such as whole organic grains or root vegetables)
  • Healthy fats (such as nuts, avocado, coconut, olives, and seeds)
  • Vegetables
  • Healthy sources of protein (such as beans, peas, and lentils) 
  • Fruits 

Warm Food

Another trick to coping with mental stress and burnout is to consume warm foods and warm drinks (such as soups and teas). Consuming warm foods is also associated with comfort, helping you emotionally and mentally prepare for burnout triggers. 

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Thank You, 🙂

Dr. Galit Goldfarb

References:

  1. Botturi A, Ciappolino V, Delvecchio G, Boscutti A, Viscardi B, Brambilla P. The Role and the Effect of Magnesium in Mental Disorders: A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2020;12(6):1661. Published 2020 Jun 3. doi:10.3390/nu12061661
  2. Plevin D, Galletly C. The neuropsychiatric effects of vitamin C deficiency: a systematic review. BMC Psychiatry. 2020;20(1):315. Published 2020 Jun 18. doi:10.1186/s12888-020-02730-w
  3. Klaus W. Lange, Omega-3 fatty acids and mental health, Global Health Journal, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 18-30, ISSN 2414-6447, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.glohj.2020.01.004.