Stress explanation and consequences All of us experience stress in one form or another: when you are stuck in traffic, facing a deadline, dealing with personal problems or not having enough relaxation time. Stress also arises from pollution, pesticides and other toxic products. Left unmanaged, stress can lead to dire effects on our health. Stress […]
All of us experience stress in one form or another: when you are stuck in traffic, facing a deadline, dealing with personal problems or not having enough relaxation time. Stress also arises from pollution, pesticides and other toxic products. Left unmanaged, stress can lead to dire effects on our health. Stress is our body’s way of dealing with new situations and we are all coping with either physical or emotional stress. Problems arise when we are continuously subjected to stress without any breaks at all.
Symptoms to watch out:
Our minds are the first to recognize the continuous stressful conditions and prompts the adrenal glands to produce the stress hormone, cortisol, part of the “fight or flight” defense system of the body. Prolonged exposure to stress raises the cortisol levels which brings many negative after effects. Medical research has discovered that raised cortisol levels caused by continuous long –term stress cause lower immune functions, interfere with our memory and learning, effect weight gain, high-blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol.
Stress also plays a key role in the development of insulin-dependent diabetes, infertility, and many pain syndromes. High cortisol levels also reduce production of digestive enzymes and affect our nutrients absorption ability. This buildup of negative effects has the tendency to lead to fatal and unexpected coronary attacks. Stress indeed is the silent killer.
A healthy diet plays an essential role in managing stress. The more stress you face, the more your body is depleted of nutrients. Having the right diet will help you in many ways, such as counteracting the excess cortisol production and boosting your immune system, help you fight fatigue, act as natural relaxant and provide your body with overall wellness.
You need to know what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. Refined food, such as white sugar, white bread and white pasta, is a no-no. They contain a lot of additives, empty calories and raise your blood sugar levels. Moods and energy levels are negatively changed.
Coffee, nicotine and alcohol are best being avoided. These types of chemicals act as stimulants for adrenaline production in the body which leads to unnatural increases in cortisol levels. Ideally, you want to favour whole, nutrient rich foods. Magnesium rich food such as dark leafy greens, seeds and grains are a great addition to your stress busting diet. Magnesium helps our body to relax naturally, produce oxygen rich blood, normalize blood flow. Medical research has also shown that magnesium-rich food reduces anxiety and has a calming effect on the nervous system which helps us get a good night’s rest. Vegetables like carrots and celery, loaded with anti-inflammation nutrients, are non-sugary and crispy snack alternatives. Nuts like almonds, walnuts and pistachios are filled with vitamins and healthy fats to boost your body’s immunity. For meals, prepare foods loaded with magnesium such as Swiss Chard that regulate adrenalin levels and juicy Salmon and Sardines, great for the heart. The healthy proteins you get from them also do tissue repair and brain health.
A healthy diet will only get you halfway. There is an essential need to boost the good diet with healthy supplements to help you combat stress.
High levels of stress have been postulated to cause hormonal changes in the body resulting in hair loss. A healthy diet with egg yolks and sunflower seeds, rich in Omega 3, Biotin and Vitamin E can help arrest this. You can also eat almonds, salmon, Brazil Nuts and Spinach. These foods can give important nutrients such as Biotin, Vitamin D, protein, Omega 3, iron and Beta Carotene. For supplements hair growth can be stimulated with B1 vitamins that nourish hair follicles, B2 vitamins that repair dry damaged hair and helps blood circulation in the scalp, B7 or Biotin and Folic acid both helps arrest hair loss. Vitamin C, E and D are essential too. Vitamin C prevents hair break and damage. While Vitamin D helps in nutrient distribution to the scalp and prevents dry hair and Vitamin E assists blood circulation to the scalp.
The list is not exhaustive. These techniques re-establish the body flow of energy disturbed by an increased amount of stress and can be very effective with no side effect.
Give your brain a break. Take a ten to fifteen minutes minute walk during lunch break or find a quiet and quiet area and do some breathing. Reading a book, listening to music, watching a funny movie, talking to a friend or soaking in a warm bath are great ideas as well. Meditation and visualisation exercises help you control anxious thoughts causing on-going stress.
You are only one work out from a good mood! Physical exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, improve your sleep and beats stress hormones. A great combination of meditation and exercise is Tai-chi or Yoga. These activities help you control your breathing and empty your mind of worries.
Health experts have supported short high intensity trainings such as circuit workouts work better for stress. Doing these intense 12-20 minute routines were found to be better than long periods of aerobic workouts. Long periods of running or walking have been proven to increase cortisol levels in the body, thus contributing to more stress. Shorter, intense workouts burn fat, reduce cortisol and create a natural sense of well-being for up to 36 hours.
Seeing a chiropractor regularly is also a great stress management plan. Continuous stress damages your nervous system and creates an ailment called vertebral subluxation. The nerves in your spine are affected by this condition and they are attached to all organs in your body. The situation becomes the root cause of many diseased and afflictions. Chiropractic studies have also shown that abnormal spinal curvature and diseases that afflict a body are 100% correlated. The nerves with subluxation were found to be deteriorated and the organs they were attached to affected with disease. Chiropractic and back care are important for overall wellness as well as natural stress management.
Aude is an ex corporate Lawyer with a passion for health, self development and independence which lead her to give up her former career to help others through health.
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