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How do I overcome stress and induce appetite?

Q: I am 29 years old and a mother of two kids, 3 and 2 years old. I personally take care of the children and have a small convenience store. I am also currently studying. Hence, my life is very stressful. I am hoping you could help me have a healthy lifestyle. What vitamins and medications do I take to overcome the stress and induce appetite since I have a very poor appetite? My weight is about 47 kg.

A:From your brief note I can see that you are in a reasonable state running a store, looking after two children and studying in your spare time. Your weight of 47 Kg with a body mass index of just below 19 is adequate for your height, sex and age. However, you have raised some issues, which I am happy to comment on. Diet - this should be well spread and well balanced containing meat or peas, beans and pulses, vegetables and fruit. Briefly, there are three main constituents of diet - carbohydrates (rice, bread, potatoes, pasta, milk, sugar); proteins (meat, bread, peas, beans, pulses); and fat (oil, butter, milk, meat, cheese) Roughly, you should aim to have about 50% of food intake as carbohydrates and the remainder as proteins and fat with less emphasis on fats. The latter should be mostly of vegetable origin and only a small portion from animal origin (e.g. butter, fat on the meat, red meat, milk, etc.) You should also endeavour to have a wide spread of vegetables, both root (potatoes, carrots, turnips) and leafy products (cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, kale, etc.). Vitamins - if you take a balanced diet with adequate vegetables and fruit then you will get enough vitamins in your food. The vitamins work on some other components of food to make other microelements needed for a healthy metabolism. It is wasteful to take extra vitamins when the food intake is inadequate because there are no substances to work on for the vitamins. Eating - if appetite and eating are a problem then one should take an active interest in thinking about food, organising menus, experimenting with newer recipes, and have fixed eating times unhindered by any other activity (e.g. television). Cooking and eating should not be regarded as a chore but incorporated into ones lifestyle as an interesting activity. Stress – stress is part of living and some of it is necessary for a fruitful working practice. It is only bad when you allow it to rule your life and worry about things that might happen but haven't yet, or things that might have gone wrong but didn't, and so on. You should learn to relax in between your working spells. I would suggest taking up yoga if you haven't already done that. I hope you will find this information useful.

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