Someone said to me the other day “I get so fed up when people go on about how stressed they are – they don’t know what stress is”. Its not the first time I have heard that, and to be honest, I probably have said that myself (in an earlier life), however people are probably under more stress than they realise, because stress means so much more than an argument with the cat or the boss.
As far as the body is concerned stress is anything which takes it from its healthy state – be that emotionally or physically. So yes there are the emotional things that happen to us that we cannot influence (though we can change our reaction to them), there are then toxic exposures – artificial fragrances in the home, DIY products, pesticides on our foods, alcohol and tobacco , and then there are physical stresses – injuries, too little exercise, too much exercise and hormone imbalances.
Once you realise this you discover that you can have a lot more control over your body than you previously thought.
From a nutritional perspective one of the biggest physical stressors on the body is an imbalance in blood sugar. If it is too low and we have too long a gap between eating, our body needs to produce adrenaline to keep us going, if it is too high because we have eaten a lot of sugary or high refined carbohydrate meal, then the body has to produce insulin. These two hormones need nutrients and energy to be made, and if we ate well, they wouldn’t be needed at all.
So start reducing your stress today by eating every 4 hours, eliminate sugary foods in your diet and whenever you have carbohydrates eat some protein at the same time. For example breakfast could include some natural yogurt, nuts and seeds with granola, snack on a boiled egg and a piece of fruit, or some hummus and crudités and if having soup for lunch ensure it has meat or beans in for protein.
© Helen Lynam, BSc Hons, mBANT, NTCC