Are you a Stress Head? I believe that everyone would prefer to lead a stress free life. Many of us are jealous of those people who are (seemingly) able to block out stressful situations and stay positive. However, keeping stress free is about more than projecting a happy and calm disposition – it’s a hugely important part of your health.
As a nutritionist, I am acutely aware of how stress can play havoc with your immune system. Stress is on the increase and our day-to-day life is becoming more stressful. Stress seems to have become an inevitable part of life and comes from many different sources.
Our bodies contain an inbuilt system to deal with stress, which is known as the ‘fight or flight response’. Back in the dark ages, if you were out hunting and happened to find yourself being chased by a woolly mammouth or sabre-tooth tiger, your body would respond with a surge of adrenaline and cortisol which in turn would focus all your body’s energy on surviving.
When your body is in fight or flight – all of its attention will be diverted from other everyday functions such as: digesting food, clearing toxins and fighting infections. Your vision will be impaired, your blood sugar levels will rocket and your blood pressure will increase.
The stresses we tend to encounter in modern day life are generally not as life threating and melodramatic, and you may even find that a certain amount of stress helps you keep focused and stimulated rather than draining. But the body still treats stressful situations in exactly the same way – both cortisol and adrenaline will be released in response to the stressor.
It has been estimated that 75% of all doctors visits are due to stress related illnesses. Those who have high stress levels will also have immune systems that become less sensitive to the stress hormone cortisol. This in turn will dampen the immune system, doubling a person’s chances of catching a cold and can even lead to much more serious health problems including:
- Tiredness, fatigue and constantly low energy levels
- Sleep problems and insomnia
- Marked energy fluctuations throughout the day, especially noticeable afternoon dips
- Irritability, anxiety and panic attacks
- Lowered sex drive
- Difficulty in losing weight
- High or low blood pressure
- Digestive problems, including frequent bloating, IBS and constipation
Any of the above could be a result of changes in your body caused by chronic stress. Many nutrition deficiencies can develop as a result of chronic stress and levels of vital nutrients such as magnesium can become too low. As magnesium is a vital part of energy production in the body, restoring your nutrient balance can have a powerful effect on how you feel.
Nutritional therapy can help identify whether chronic stress is affecting your health. I frequently use a biochemical test that measures the stress hormone levels in the body to help give an accurate picture of how severely your health is affected by stress. I can then help you not only with a healthy eating plan to restore your health and energy levels, but also introduce you to many useful stress management tools. And all this is personalised to suit your individual needs – after all, you already have enough on your plate! With targeted nutrients, a healthy eating plan, and personalised stress management tools our clients quickly feel less anxious, sleep better and greatly improve their energy levels.
To find out more about improving your health contact me by clicking here.