Stress is a problem affecting more and more people as our lives become busier and busier. Stress is a very real, emotional condition where a person feels unable to cope with the everyday pressures of life and becomes overwhelmed with the tasks in front of them. Stress often manifests over some time and presents with acute responses of outburst or breakdowns. It can be built up from a traumatic event that was not dealt with or from constant every day pressures at work or home.
Long term stress can become a serious problem and can lead to more serious issues such as chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, lowered immune responses or digestive complaints such as IBS.
It is important to learn how to effectively respond to stressful situations and how to provide your body with what it needs to fuel coping mechanisms.
What is stress exactly?
We have what is called a fight or flight response. Under normal circumstances, when we are faced with something stressful, our adrenal glands and nervous system speak to the rest of our body. This prepares the body for the appropriate response, which are the ‘stress symptoms’ of rapid heart rate or palpitations and heavy laboured breathing. This helps to move stress hormones (adrenaline, cortisol), sugars and blood around the body to prepare for a fast get away.
With prolonged stress, these responses overwhelm our body and its functionality. The release of hormones, sugars and blood circulation upregulates and causes the body to prioritise the response over others body functions such as digestion and reproduction. This contributes to the lack of appetite some people get or to poor digestive functions such as absorption of essential nutrients, reflux, IBS and bowel motions on a digestive level and low libido on a reproductive level. The immune system is also activated, contributing to a hypersensitive and poor immune function in the long term.
Implications of Stress
- Mood swings, emotional (hypersensitive)
- Irritable, agitated and snappy
- Persistent racing thoughts
- Worrying over anything and everything
- Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing).
- Poor concentration, memory and focus.
- Muscle tension and cramping
- Muscle and bone aches and pains
- Rapid or rising heart rate/palpitations
- Rashes, hives and eczema
- Poor or increased appetite
- Sleep problems/insomnia
- Elevations in blood pressure.
- Cardiovascular problems
- Bowel trouble (IBS, diarrhoea/constipation or both)
Stress and diet
Stress and diet are more connected than you might think. Those who consume a balanced diet with healthy brain and body supporting nutrients are often found to be less stressed or have a better ability to cope than those who have a poor diet.
What is a Nutritionist’s role in stress reduction?
Nutritionist Danielle can offer personalised nutrition guidance and support to ensure goals for stress reduction are met, along with goals that may relate to the symptoms associated with stress. Danielle will examine your lifestyle and personal dietary needs (everyone is unique) to incorporate stress relieving foods effectively within your dietary regime. Danielle also assesses your blood results to determine adrenal imbalances along with other hormonal imbalances that may be contributing. Additional to hormonal assessment, nutritional imbalances will be identified. After a thorough assessment has been done of your current dietary intake and your pathology, we will work together to devise a plan appropriate to you, fitted out with lifestyle alterations and physical movement that fits within the professional scope of practice of a nutritionist (alternatively, referral where necessary) – CALL NOW