Tag Archives: breathe

The Stress Mess:How it Messes with Your Health

We all have some level of stress, right?

It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.

Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.

It’s the chronic stress that’s a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.

And right now with the Coronavirus pandemic, we are all experiencing elevated stress levels

Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.

Let’s dive into the “stress mess.”

Mess #1 – Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes

Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed.

Stress increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood “thickness,” as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.

Mess #2 – Immunity

Did you notice that you get sick more often when you’re stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?

Well, that’s because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.

Mess #3 – “Leaky Gut.”

Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as “intestinal permeability.” These “leaks” can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.

The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.

Picture this: Have you ever played “red rover?” It’s where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right though.  Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in red rover!

Mess #4 – Sleep Disruption

Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.

And when you don’t get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.

More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health.  Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren’t doing you any favours.

Stress-busting tips

Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.

Can you:

  • Put less pressure on yourself?
  • Ask for help?
  • Say “no”?
  • Delegate to someone else?
  • Finally, make that decision?

No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Walk in nature
  • Unplug (read a book, take a bath)
  • Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)
  • Connect with loved ones

Positive Affirmations in Stressful Times: We are in this together!

How do we practice gratitude and abundance when we feel stressed or overwhelmed?

  • Affirmations are a simple and proven way to rewire our brains.
  • Much like exercise feeds our bodies, affirmations feed our brain.
  • Ever hear the saying, “We are what we think”?
  • This means that your life is dictated largely by your thoughts.
  • But recognizing this is just the first step. You must then translate those thoughts into words – and then into actions.

Here are some positive affirmation examples you can try today:

“Today, I am content and calm.”

“I am blessed with so many talents that I will use today.”

“My body is healthy, my mind is strong, and my soul is content.”

“My thoughts are filled with positivity and thankfulness today.”

“I radiate positivity, kindness, and encouragement.”

I encourage you to come up with your own affirmations that fit your life and try saying a couple out loud now.

Conclusion

Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realize.

Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep.

There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.

You can ditch that stress mess!

Recipe (relaxing chamomile): Chamomile Peach Iced Tea

Serves 1

1 cup steeped chamomile tea, cooled

1 peach, diced

Place both ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if desired.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can use fresh or frozen peaches.

References:

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress

https://www.thepaleomom.com/stress-undermines-health/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/good-stress-bad-stress

https://www.thepaleomom.com/managing-stress/

Disclaimer

The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your diet, taking supplements or making any changes to your health care regimen.

Support your good health

Concerns are still growing around the coronavirus pandemic .  To stop the spread, it’s important that we follow the guidelines set out by the public health authorities.  Not only to protect ourselves but also to protect others.

Along with frequent hand washing, social distancing and self isolation, support for the immune system is vital. What we eat and drink on a daily basis makes a big difference in helping us fight infection.

Read on or listen here.

immune system support

These are my top pick 5 picks for  your kitchen:

Vitamin C rich foods-you probably knew this one already but sometimes a little reminder helps, particularly during times of stress-like what we are going through right now.

The best source are fruits and vegetables so include plenty, and a variety in your daily meal plan.  There is clear evidence that vitamin C rich foods are  supportive to our immune system and  Vitamin C also protects against free radical damage and viruses.

An added bonus of vitamin C, it’s great for skin. It is essential for collagen production, the glue that holds the body together and keeps skin youthful and supple.

Zinc rich foods.  Zinc is an important trace mineral, that we often don’t think about in relation to immune health.  And a little goes a long way.  This mineral  acts a an antioxidant and is known to lower infection rates  

Zinc is also involved in a multitude of body functions, including the metabolism of many enzymes used for digestion and nerve function.

Zinc is most abundant in animal foods but can also be found in pumpkin seeds, mushrooms , chickpeas, hemp seeds and seafood, particularly oysters.

Protein rich foods are important for making antibodies that fight infection. Inadequate protein lowers immunity and your body’s ability to fight infection. Aim for 30-50 grams per day.

Eat mushrooms!  Long known for their medicinal properties, mushrooms  contain beta-glucans which support the immune system.  They enhance macrophages and natural killer cells.  Mushrooms have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, Selenium and vitamin D

Keep your digestion healthy as much of our immune system lives in our gut.  Eat prebiotic foods such as oats, onions, leeks, flax legumes, cruciferous vegetables,  these foods feed the good bacteria.

Include Probiotic foods which maintain  the good bacteria.  Kefir, youghurt, sauerkraut, miso are good sources of probiotics. Read here for more on how you can support gut health.

Join my community and get my quick guide to pre and probiotic foods. It’s free!

Additional tips

If you enjoy tea,  Rosehip and Elderberry tea are a good source of flavonoids and Vitamin C.

Oil of Oregano or Oil of thyme are anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. My go to right now is Black seed oil which I mix in with a little Black Cherry Juice, Vitamin D Drops and Omega 3 oil.

Please note these oils contain powerful compounds so are very potent.  Follow the directions on the bottle/packaging very carefully and only use for a limited time.  Better yet get advice from a trusted health and wellness practitioner.

Want more information on how to choose a supplement?  Read here.

And remember to  drink plenty of water.

Conclusion

While we are in the midst of the Coronavirus, we must all follow the advice of the public health agencies, wash hands frequently, self -isolate and practice social distancing.

In addition to managing stress, prioritizing sleep and breathing in clean air,  eat well, whole natural foods with plenty of fruits and vegetables are your best bet.

Medical Disclaimer-The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your diet, taking supplements or making any changes to your health care regimen.