Stress out

Nu­tri­tion and strate­gies to deal with stress

Element - - Contents - by Lani Lopez.

“Ill health is stress­ful.” I mean this lit­er­ally. When un­well we are al­most cer­tainly suf­fer­ing the symp­toms and ef­fects of stress. But stress is not to be feared, it is to be man­aged, which can be done sim­ply and, most im­por­tantly, ef­fec­tively.

Stress is a re­sponse, a se­ries of phys­i­cal changes that ready us to face a threat, or per­form un­der pres­sure, from sport to ex­ams. Stress can help us be de­ci­sive, fast and fo­cussed, but too much stress is toxic. Ev­i­dence sug­gests that un­der stress our ar­ter­ies thicken, blood be­comes stick­ier (per­haps ready to clot in case of in­jury). Brain, lungs, heart and mus­cles are, rapidly and chron­i­cally, over or un­der­ac­ti­vated. The body’s chem­i­cal bal­ance changes; re­leas­ing adreno­sine and adren­a­line, aid­ing alert­ness but dis­rupt­ing sleep and in­creas­ing the body’s in­flam­ma­tory re­sponse, (a pre-cur­sor to ill­ness). In­creased cor­ti­sol (aka the stress hor­mone) brings fat and su­gar crav­ings, elim­i­nat­ing our abil­ity to shed fat and tox­ins. Stress also strips sero­tonin and dopamine, chem­i­cals that make us feel safe and well.

Acute stress – a one-time event re­sponse – can have se­ri­ous con­se­quences, ag­gra­vat­ing pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions (heart, joint pain) but mostly the body re-bal­ances with­out long-term trou­ble. Most dan­ger­ous is on­go­ing or chronic stress, un­der­min­ing well­be­ing and over-time, caus­ing wide-rang­ing phys­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age. Most of us man­age symp­toms of stress with over-the-counter med­i­ca­tion, antacids for tummy up­set, aspirin for headaches. Many use al­co­hol and other drugs.

If you do ei­ther, con­sult your health prac­ti­tioner or GP. Ask if chronic stress has given you a chronic con­di­tion and get started on a stress man­age­ment plan im­me­di­ately.

Lani Lopez BHSC, Adv.dip.nat, is a clin­i­cal nutri­tion­ist, author and a spe­cial­ist for­mu­la­tor of natur­o­pathic sup­ple­ments. Find out more at or con­tact her at:

Chronic stress is linked with nu­mer­ous dis­eases and an ag­gra­vat­ing fac­tor in many dam­ag­ing health con­di­tions in­clud­ing: • Heart dis­ease and stroke • Ir­ri­ta­ble Bowel Syn­drome &

In­flam­ma­tory Bowel Dis­ease • Pep­tic Ul­cers • Mi­graine and ten­sion

headaches • Back pain, arthri­tis and joint

in­flam­ma­tion • Sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to colds and flu and ag­gra­vated symp­toms post in­fec­tion • Asthma • Her­pes • Low­ered im­mune func­tion • Di­a­betes • Eat­ing dis­or­ders • In­som­nia • Weight gain • Pre­men­strual Syn­drome • Mood fluc­tu­a­tion • Eczema • Un­ex­plained Hair Loss

(Alope­cia Areata) • Pe­ri­odon­tal dis­ease • Di­ar­rhea & Con­sti­pa­tion • Im­po­tence • De­pres­sion • Anx­i­ety • Ir­ri­tabil­ity • Headaches • Mus­cle and joint pain • Short­ness of breath • Skin ir­ri­ta­tion and rashes • Mem­ory lapses • Re­duced at­ten­tion span • Loss of en­joy­ment, ap­petite,

mo­ti­va­tion, li­bido • Anx­i­ety • Sleep­less­ness • Sickly (im­paired im­mu­nity)

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