Stress is a natural part of life. We all experience some form of stress on a daily basis. Day to day we may experience, work stress, the stress of commuting & rushing here and there as well as family or kid wrangling stress. We also experience useful stress for example: public speaking, exam, performing and even sport induced stress. Your body may still have a response from previously experienced stress even if you do not feel stressed.
However prolonged stress and your body being in continual fight and flight mode can be an underlying factor behind a myriad of health problems.
Symptoms of stress may include: fatigue, insomnia or sleep issues, poor memory or concentration and reduced digestive function often presenting as IBS.
Longer term stress can lead to: weight problems, chronic fatigue, thyroid conditions, hormonal imbalances and a lowered immune system.
Vital nutrients that may be beneficial to you in times of stress include:
Magnesium: Stress reduces your stores of magnesium, and a low level of magnesium in the body may actually make the effects of stress worse! You need to replenish your magnesium levels to support a healthy nervous system. - Dark leafy green vegetables; kale, spinach, broccoli, liver, whole grains, legumes, nuts/seeds: sunflower, walnuts, maca root. Take an epsom salt or magnesium chloride baths.
B vitamins: Help to support stress by moderating brain chemicals called neurotransmitters to keep you in a good mood. B vitamins also help improve your energy levels. Look for high quality activated B vitamins, which can be much more readily absorbable. - Almonds, liver, kidney, molasses, organic poultry, fish, eggs, mushrooms.
Essential fatty acids: Are an important building block for the brain and nervous system, and can help support healthy mood. - Walnuts, almonds, deep green vegetables, deep sea oily fish, cold pressed olive oil, flax seeds.
Herbal medicine: There is an abundance of calming herbs that provide effective relief from a wide range of mood or stress symptoms. - Chamomile, lemon Balm, passionflower (sedative).
Simple strategies every day to keep on top of your stress:
• Avoid sugary foods, drinks and refined carbohydrates.
• Include small quality plant protein in each meal to improve your energy & afternoon brain function.
• Drink water (1.5-2L daily). Essential for nutrient transport and toxic waste disposal in your body.
• Limit caffeine (to 1/day) and alcohol.
• Choose to do exercise daily that you enjoy. - Yoga, (dog/nature/child) walking, team sports, swimming, stretching.
• Joy! - engage in daily activities that bring you JOY! Start now, go on make a list.
• Meditation & yoga increase GABA and other happy hormones in your body! Yes yes yes!
• Practice deep diaphragmatic breathing as this calms your nervous system among many other positive physiological changes.
Sometimes a little (or a big) dietary tweak can really make a big difference in combating stress & fatigue. For some people supplementation is necessary for a short period. Through dietary and lifestyle assessment a naturopath may be able to identify specific nutrient deficiencies and address fatigue with a more specific target in mind. Functional diagnostic analysis testing may also be valuable especially if preliminary testing has come up within the 'normal' ranges.
Speak to our naturopath about herbs and nutrients that can help support you with pain, fatigue and stress as you are making these essential changes.
To find out more about therapeutic herbs, breath training and mindfulness practice contact Christine on 0409027221 or make a booking at Western Health Collective.
Christine is a qualified naturopath supporting her clients with stress, anxiety, fatigue, and gut health. She has a strong commitment to those with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue and offers ongoing wholistic treatment plans. Facilitating mindfulness practice for 17 years.
This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your practitioner for personalised health treatments and advice.