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Herbs Can Help
"A healthy diet filled with lean protein, complex carbohydrates, a lot of vegetables, and moderate fruit will help keep you balanced," notes Merrell. Herbal supplements can also help you relax. As always, speak with your doctor about dosages before trying anything.
"Some may feel a little stimulated, but rhodiola can be helpful for reducing stress," explains Merrell. Look for it at your local vitamin store. Meanwhile, cordyceps, a Chinese herb that can be found at most health-food stores, makes the body more efficient at processing the stress hormone cortisol.
Why You Need Magnesium
Do you take a calcium supplement? It may surprise you to learn that it could be adding stress to your life. "When you get anxious, calcium runs inside your cells and suppresses magnesium," says Ashley Koff, a Los Angeles dietician. "Calcium and magnesium function antagonistically, so when you're nervous, calcium excites your cells, whereas magnesium calms them. Excess calcium causes your muscles to contract and exacerbates a stressful situation."
Since it's important for women to take calcium for bone health, the easiest way to relax is by increasing your intake of magnesium. "It plays a big role in helping with stress reduction," notes Koff, which is why she recommends Peter Gillham's Natural Vitality Natural Calm ($21.95), a highly absorbable form of magnesium powder that's best mixed with water, to her celebrity clients, like Emily Deschanel.