Is Stress Impacting Your Health?

stress
Stress: The commonly used 6 letter word unveiled… 

We are all subjected to stress at one time or another in our lives. In today’s busy lifestyles we are probably subjected to it more than we have ever been in the past and more and more on a daily basis. Some stress is beneficial. It keeps our minds active, our blood pumping and our problem-solving skills in check.

Stress causes a fight or flight response within us, where our stress hormones are released from our adrenal glands. These hormones are known as adrenaline, epinephrine, cortisol and noradrenaline. These are released to protect us from danger, if a bear or lion might be chasing us, so to speak in cave man terms. When cortisol and adrenaline are released, the liver is prompted to release glucose from its stores to provide fuel to move rapidly and trigger the brain to kick into action and the heart to beat faster to pump blood to the muscles. This creates elevations in blood pressure.

This process is great in short bursts.

Like anything, too much of a good thing can also be harmful. Prolonged, frequent and long term stressors can send our stress hormones into overdrive, deplete output from our adrenal glands and cause havoc throughout our body. This havoc can present in the form of elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose levels (contributing to diabetes), and neurotransmitter depletions making it even more difficult to respond normally to stressful and emotional situations and contribute to reductions in libido and reproductive function due to the body switching off its parasympathetic systems and turning on its sympathetic nervous system. This switch also switches off digestive processes in order to focus on the task at hand, leading to symptoms of IBS, constipation, reflux and more.

It is extremely difficult to find balance in a rapidly changing and busy environment, with work, children, study, continuous moving of houses, finances, relationships and even things as small as driving a car.

It is important to take a moment each day to stop, reflect, take some deep breaths and enjoy life.

Go for a walk alone if you can, or with a partner, where you discuss the next exciting thing in your lives or take your kids to the park and play with them on the swings. Walk in fresh air along the beach, listen to some light music, read a book, do some light exercise or yoga. Anything that will allow you to just be at peach and let go of all the stressors in life even for just a moment.

Speak with a health professional on breathing or relaxing strategies that you can fit into your busy schedule.

Dietary Fats are Healthy!

Dietician Or Nutritionist Dietary Fats

Well to a certain extent. When we consider the various types of dietary fats that present within our diets, unfortunately for the Western Diet, saturated fats or ‘bad’ fats and omega 6 are in higher proportion than beneficial, anti-inflammatory omega 3 healthy fats. Omega 6 another dietary fat converts to what is called arachidonic acid in the body, this is pro-inflammatory and disease promoting. Saturated fats are found in most packed and processed foods, take away foods, fried foods, some cooking oils, meats and dairy.

HEALTH SATURATED FATS

In small amounts stable saturated fats have shown some benefits to our health, such as those found in coconut oil (caprylic acid and lauric acid a medium chain triglyceride). The fats in coconut oil do not burn or rancid when cooked and are therefore more stable for cooking purposes.

COCONUT OIL

Although the jury is still out on the health benefits of coconut oil, lauric acids has shown some promise for enhancing metabolism, acting as a direct energy source due to their immediate absorption, improving skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis and cradle cap on babies. It is considered to assist in anti-bacterial and anti-viral processes.

CAPRYLIC AICD

Caprylic acid, another saturated fatty acid found in smaller amounts in coconut oil has also shown promise for anti-bacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory benefits.

PALM OILS

Other palm oils on the other hand are less stable releasing free radicals, particularly when heated and are said to be pro-inflammatory and disease promoting. Because they are cheap, they are used in many consumable items. Palm oils may promote heart health risks, weight gain, elevations in cholesterol and atherosclerotic plaques.

RED MEAT & SATURATED FATS

The saturated dietary fats found in red meats can also cause concern for cholesterol and heart health. Limited intake of fatty red meats should be limited. Choose lean cuts of meats and extra lean meats such as kangaroo and venison. Aim for 1-2 red meat free days per week. You can achieve iron and protein status through a range of different foods. Speak with your nutrition professional on how to meet this goal without the additional saturated fats.

HEALTHY FATS BENEFITS

Healthy fats form an essential part of a healthy, anti-inflammatory and metabolism enhancing diet. This is because healthy fats have a structural and protective role in the cells of our body, organs, hormones and tissues including our hair, skin and nails. Healthy fats help quash the free radicals that are produced through normal metabolic processes and through our environmental and dietary influences.

OMEGA-3 (Essential Fatty Acids)

Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to be low in most Western diets. These polyunsaturated fatty acids can be found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and some oils. Omega 3s support reductions in pain and inflammation, improvements in mood, anxiety and depression, regulate blood glucose levels, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s, reduce cholesterol, and oxidative damage and much more. Fats form part of our cellular membranes, particularly in the brain. To protect cognitive function, healthy fats are essential. Unfortunately, these fatty acids are not stable at high temperatures and therefore lose their nutritious nature if over-heated.

MONOUNSATURATED

Monounsaturated fats such as those found in avocados, some oils, nuts and seeds are also important protectors. These fats, like omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to assist in reducing inflammation, depression, insulin resistance, ADHD symptoms and preventing heart disease. Not to mention their sources are delicious!

One could go on and on about the benefits and pitfalls of different types of  dietary fats but one thing we can be clear on is we need them in our diet in sufficient amounts for various body functions.

Adrenal Health: Constantly Snacking or Drinking Multiple Cups of Coffee?

Dietitian Nutritionist Adrenal

Does Your Adrenal Health Need Assessment?

Snacking habits can be caused by a range of factors, which may be as simple as confusing hunger for thirst, boredom or habit or a reflection of your adrenal health.

But there may also be an underlying biochemical and physiological reason.

When our blood sugar levels spike and slump rapidly after a meal or drop too low due to a period of fasting, our body signals an alarm to tell us we need to eat again and fast. Often, we reach for fast fuel items such as sugary, carb rich, salty or high fat foods. We can also find ourselves gorging at the next meal for similar reasons. These persistent peaks and troughs in blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance and can become dangerous to our health.

Other reasons may include adrenal depletion and fatigue.
We  may be under a lot of stress or anxiety from:

  • work
  • illness
  • study
  • family
  • finances
  • a traumatic event
  • over exercise
  • and other lifestyle factors

With this stress our adrenal glands (tiny little glands that sit above our kidneys), release the hormone cortisol and other fight flight hormones that give us the energy we need to get through a stressful situation. These hormones direct our liver to release glycogen as glucose and glucose floods our body in response to the stress. We then crash as our body tries to bring the glucose within normal range. When we crash we fatigue and our brain and organs reach for carbohydrates to rapidly increase energy supply again. Our adrenal glands and the hormones released were not designed to cope with the persistent stressors of today’s society and this often results in the depletion of the cortisol secreted from our adrenals, which is required for releasing glucose from the liver and muscles.

The vicious cycle, causes us to continuously reach for snack items.
There are ways to find out if your adrenals are depleted on or their way.

Speak with me to find out how and what we can do to assist in preventing adrenal fatigue, persistent snacking habits and blood sugar dysregulation.

 

Online Dietician

IBS: Gut Problems Got You Beat?

Diet Consultation IBS

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Do you suffer from the following?

IBS

Gas
Bloating
Sore or upset stomach
Fatigue
Nausea
Irritability
Reflux or heartburn

Digestive Enzymes and IBS Type Symptoms

If you are suffering from one or more of the above digestive complaints, it is possible that you are lacking vital enzymes.

Digestive enzymes play a pivotal role in how the food we eat is broken down, digested, absorbed and used. These special little fellows occupy our digestion from our mouth (tongue) right through to our large intestine.

They are also present within our blood, assisting in anti-inflammatory and antihistaminic reactions, but that is a topic for another time.

Many things are known to deplete the number of digestive enzymes we secrete including, insufficient/incorrect pH environment for their survival and activation, tissue trauma to a secreting organ such as the pancreas, chemicals and pesticides stripping them from our plant foods, medications, drinking around food times, excessive intake of saturated and hydrogenated fats, fluorinated water, microwaving foods, heavy metals, dental fillings and pasteurisation.

As you can see, what happens to our foods has a lot to do with the number of enzymes that are viable to our body.

There are certain foods that are naturally designed to possess larger qualities of enzymes, but sometimes, eating enough of these at each meal can be a difficult task.

Sometimes the use of digestive enzyme supplements can fill this dietary gap.

But which enzymes are best for you? When do you take them? There are so many on the market, which provide the most benefit to your symptoms? It is important to speak with a dietary specialist to help determine the best fit for dietary intake of enzymatic foods as well as supplementation.

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