Reduce Stress With Nutrition
What is stress?
Stress can be defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. However, not all types of stress are harmful or even negative.
Here are two varieties of stress that we can commonly encounter:
Very short-term type of stress that can either be positive or more distressing. This is the stress we most often encounter in day-to-day life (ie: Dealing with road rage)
This type of stress is one that that seems never-ending and inescapable, like the stress of a bad marriage or an extremely taxing job (this type of stress can lead to burnout)
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal cortex in response to adrenal cortical stimulating hormone (ACTH) produced in the pituitary gland. Cortisol plays an important role in regulating blood sugar, energy production, inflammation, the immune system, and healing.
How does stress affect cortisol levels?
Excessive stress can have a negative impact on our health. Research shows that negative effects are linked to the hormone known as cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels caused by chronic stress can result in weight gain, tiredness, and long-term health problems.
Where is cortisol produced?
Cortisol is a hormone produced in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are located atop each kidney. The adrenal glands release cortisol into the blood at specific times a day, in accordance with a sort of internal clock that regulates cortisol levels.
How do I get rid of stress cortisol?
Here is a list of stress reduction options
• Taking a bubble bath
• Biking to work
• Spending time with family and friends
• Taking a deep breath
• Getting a massage
• Calling a friend
• Going for a walk or bike ride
• Practicing spirituality
• Reading a book
• Playing a sport
• Bird watching
• Going to the gym
• Going to a show or movie
• Spending time in nature
• Going to the park
• Playing with a pet
Does stress deplete cortisol?
Over time, when stress is always present, you constantly feel under attack, that fight-or-flight reaction stays turned on. This long-term activation of the stress response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones that follow can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This puts you at increased risk of many health problems.
How can you lower cortisol?
Reduce the common stressors in your life. Enjoy more exercise – even a short walk daily. Improve sleeping habits. Increase your diet with whole foods. Reduce junk food.
What kinds of food can help reduce my stress?
- Eat a high-quality protein-based breakfast.
- Snack with Low Glycemic Index foods such as raw nuts and seeds, soft-boiled, poached, over-easy eggs, etc.
- Eat a well-balanced diet consisting mostly of vegetables and lean meats.
- Foods with a high mineral content that are helpful for adrenal recoveries such as kelp, peppers, Swiss chard, beet greens, celery (root and leaves), kohlrabi, zucchini, and spinach
- Certain foods rich in Vitamin C are helpful and include papaya, guava, strawberries, red bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, cabbage
- Certain foods rich in Vitamin D are also helpful and include organic butter, egg yolks, wild salmon, cheese, and fish liver oil
- Certain foods rich in Potassium such as squash, spinach, papaya, yam, cod, snapper, halibut, lentils, kidney beans, and figs
Four tips I suggest for my clients at mealtime:
- Say Grace
- Put down your fork between bites
- Practice belly breathing
- Stay calm and happy while eating
How does cortisol function in a healthy way?
In the “Fight or Flight” response, the adrenal glands enlarge and secrete large quantities of adrenal cortical hormones. These hormones suppress inflammatory responses and mobilize the body’s energy reserves. This puts the body on RED ALERT. This is very important for your body to attend to the needs at hand—but NOT on a daily basis.
How does cortisol function when it is out of balance?
As the body responds to this cumulative stress, cortisol’s effects can be physically detrimental. Excessive high levels of cortisol cause depletion of precious nutrients required for daily body functions. Increased levels of cortisol are caused by stress, environmental pollutants, and lifestyle.
Factors that increase cortisol in the body are:
COFFEE, SUGAR and CHOCOLATE, STRESS, and many pharmaceuticals including PROZAC, or ANTI-DEPRESSANTS.
What is the relationship between stress and disease?
• Elevated cortisol levels (CAUSED BY EXCESSIVE STRESS) can cause:
• Increased appetite Can lead to Obesity
• Elevated Cholesterol, Blood Pressure Can Lead to Heart Disease
• Alters Brain Chemistry Can lead to Anxiety or Depression
• Shrinks Brain Cells Can lead Alzheimer’s Disease
• Increases Blood sugar levels Can lead to Diabetes
• Suppresses Immune System Can lead to frequent colds and flu
• Accelerated Bone Breakdown Can lead to osteoporosis
Let’s identify your stressors and learn more details about reducing stress in your life with Nutrition.
With Natural Options you are in control of your stress!
Contact me for a free 20-minute consultation!