Your Plan Of Action – The Natural Approach
- Make changes to your diet to help your body cope better with stress
- Know that a certain pattern of eating may be making you feel more stressed than you should be
- Take specific nutrients that reduce the impact stress has on you physically and mentally
Best Test Option: Adrenal Stress Test
What Is Stress?
Millions of years ago, our bodies were designed to react quickly to danger. Like wild animals we were on constant alert so we could run or fight if threatened. When your brain thinks your life is in danger it stimulates the release of adrenaline and cortisol
This fight or flight response is incredibly clever and thoroughly efficient. It provides instant energy for 5-10 minutes allowing you to react swiftly to dangerous situations.
These days, many of us live under chronic stress. But your body can’t distinguish between late trains, missed appointments, spiralling debt, infuriating work colleagues, family disputes or a truly life-threatening stress it gears up to challenge. So it reacts exactly the same as it’s always done.
The problem with many modern lifestyles is that stress (our ‘perceived threat’) is almost continuous and comes without the natural release that either fighting or fleeing might provide.
What Symptoms Could You Experience?
The knock-on effects of continually being too stressed are enormous, physically and mentally. They can include:
- Sleep problems
- Tension (including neck, head, back and shoulder pain)
- Digestive disorders
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Skin problems (such as hives, eczema, psoriasis and rashes)
- Jaw pain
- Menstrual problems
- Sexual difficulties
- Immune suppression (making you prone to recurrent illness and infections)
- Nervousness, anxiety and panic attacks
- Depression and moodiness
- Irritability and frustration
- Memory problems and lack of concentration
Can Nutrition Help With Stress and Anxiety?
Nutrition can have a big impact on how you cope with stress and how that stress can affect you both physically and mentally.
Balancing blood sugar is essential in lowering stress because the crashes in sugar levels which happen through the day (due to going long periods without food and not eating the right foods) stimulates more adrenaline and cortisol to be released. This is because these stress hormones, apart from helping you to run away from a tiger, can also mobilise your glucose (which has been stored as glycogen in the liver) back into the blood stream. This is why you can feel more jittery, irritable etc. when blood sugar plummets!
Certain nutrients can be extremely helpful in helping to reduce stress and its impact on your health. These include the B vitamins especially B5 for stress relief and energy, magnesium – nature’s tranquiliser for relaxation and sleep, chromium for blood sugar balance, Siberian ginseng which acts as a tonic to the adrenal glands and L-theanine for reducing stress and anxiety.
Test Options For Stress and Anxiety
The Adrenal Stress Test is the best way to see how stressed you are and this test checks your levels of cortisol using saliva. Cortisol fluctuates during the day, ideally being highest in the morning, as you start the day and lowest at night when you are ready to wind down and go to bed. It is most useful to look at this pattern of cortisol over a day and see whether it stays within the normal range throughout the whole day.
The test is easy to take as you collect the saliva samples at home. The test also measures your level of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) which is the hormone that works to balance many of the negative effects of cortisol and helps you cope with stress.
Where To Start?
Make sure you are eating well to support your symptoms. If you would like personalised advice on what to do next then request a consultation with one of our qualified nutritionists.