Stress, the disease of the 21st century

Today, more than ever we are bombarded with stress from a multitude of angles, whether it being dropping the kids off to school and your running late, too many red lights driving to work or meeting company targets,there would not be a day that I would see at least a few people struggling. One of the keys to reducing stress is awareness and identifying where your stress is coming from, because then and only then can you tackle the beast head on.

Some of the most common stressors include

• Unresolved emotional stress (anxiety, fear, worry, anger, guilt, depression)
• Late hours, insufficient sleep
• Overwork, either physical or mental, including excessive physical exercise
• Nutritional deficiencies
• Refined sugar (white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, dextrin, high fructose corn syrup, etc. found in most processed foods)
• Overconsumption of caffeine (coffee, black tea, chocolate, soft drinks)
• Chronic pain and/or illness
• Trauma, injury, surgery

The adrenal glands are the first to break down, and since they are also the ones that require the most vitamin C, we must look to eating foods high in this vitamin. Citrus, tomatoes and berries all contain high amounts but, but maybe the emphasis must be placed on those foods which rob the body of vitamin C such as coffee.

Yes coffee, like all stimulants whips the adrenal glands into working and working hard, but whats that you say?

"My coffee reduces my stress and helps me stay sane" not quite, its an illusion.

It may reduce brain fog, but if you measured your pulse and blood pressure you would find they both increase. My advice is to limit or reduce these, I recently met a couple who had consumed five coffees by lunchtime and one may who's daily quota reached seventeen. Try alternating your coffee if you are a larger consumer by a fresh squeezed juice loaded with some vitamin C instead.

Trust me, your body will thank you!

As stress is a hormone and all hormones are made from fat, it makes sense to increase our healthy fat intake. Excellent sources of these fats include cold pressed coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, seeds, grass fed animal fats in the form of milk and meats as well as free range eggs. Oats are also an amazing plant based source and of all the grains contain higher percentages of fats, avocados are another goldmine.

As pesticides increases the bodies toxicity, using up its limited supply of antioxidants I would definitely be steering towards eating organic, or at least spray free if possible.

An excellent habit would be to divide your plate at mealtimes into three. Arrange your plate so it is split into equal proportions of fats, carbohydrates and proteins to ensure you cover all the bases of sound nutrition, this is simple enough to implement, only requiring a quick scan prior to eating to check you have all bases covered.

As I have previously mentioned in blogs, it is not what you eat but what you absorb meaning, it is possible to starve for nutrients that are abundant in your diet simply because you are deficient in the fat soluble activators. An excellent source of these that is easy and takes the hassle out of it, is a raw cold pressed cod liver oil. I recommend two which can be found on this link.

The fat soluble activators have an exponential effect on assimilation meaning you don't need much, they just need to be present.

These vitamins are vitamin A,D,E and K.

I would also try to include a fermented food at a few of your meals, fermented foods are loaded with nutrients and enzymes which the later your body works very hard to make, especially if the food has been cooked or processed. These fermented foods often containing the bonus of vitamin C will reduce the burden of digestion so the body can better preserve its energy.

Although diet will definitely help to provide your body with the tools it requires to combat the stress, a larger perspective is needed as sleep, exercise, sunlight and fresh air are vital to help the body function.

If you can set a curfew on your mobile and screen time once the sun sets, as the blue and white light make your body produce more stress hormone. This in turn creates a domino effect where your sleep is not as restorative.

Mice under artificial lighting had both shorter lifespans and increased disease compared to those that were exposed to natural lighting, so get outside as much as you can, even if its only to walk the dog and eat lunch it all counts. The average Westerner is outside less than someone in a maximal security prison.

As we burn the candles at each end of the day, we must remember the body heals when it is asleep. If you need to heal take a little more rest. Have an early night, Netflix will still be there tomorrow!!

It has been shown that exposing yourself to a green zone(nature-beach,park, forest) can increase your bodies immune system defence while lowering your bodies blood pressure and pulse. Light has now been shown to do the same. Get outside!!

If you working an office it may not be possible to open a window, but you can open your window when you sleep. You breathe out many times more toxins than you breathe in, and in a closed room at night with two of you this can be the game changer between waking up refreshed or groggy and tired.

Lastly, especially Men, if you aren't coping, don't be afraid to ask for help, it is not a sign of weakness but of strength.

If you goto my website you will find I have written ebooks on movement, gut health and sleep.

If you are interested in reading more on fish oils, sleep, maliilumination (blue light and its effect on health) I have written over 30 blogs all based on my talks as a Naturopath at the health retreat over the last 15yrs on the above site.





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My name is Blair Harvey and I have had the pleasure of working at one of Australia's best Health Retreat's for the past fourteen wonderful years. Over those years I have had the delight of working with a spectacular kitchen team, we all have an immense passion for cooking good healthy food that is unique and tantalizing to your taste buds. Together we have not only developed our skills in cooking wholesome, nourishing and out right delicious foods, but we have been committed to broadening our knowledge of healing with whole foods and exploring the beauty of healthy living. Because of our enthusiasm in the benefits of foods and there healing properties I developed a blog to help us SHARE what we have learnt with the rest of the world.

You will find tasty gems of wisdom on health, food and healing, helping to expand your mind and revitalize your knowledge of healthy eating.