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The Stress Mess: How It Messes With Your Health

The Stress Mess: How It Messes With Your Health

We all have some level of stress, right?

It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.

Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.

It’s the chronic stress that’s a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.

Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.

Let’s dive into the “stress mess”.

Mess #1 – Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes

Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed.

Stress increased the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood “thickness”, as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.

Mess #2 – Immunity

Did you notice that you get sick more often when you’re stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?

Well, that’s because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.

Mess #3 – “Leaky Gut”

Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as “intestinal permeability”. These “leaks” can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.

The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.

Picture this: Have you ever played “red rover”? It’s where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right through.  Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in red rover!

Mess #4 – Sleep Disruption

Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.

And when you don’t get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.

More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health.  Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren’t doing you any favours.

Stress-busting tips

Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.

Can you:

  • Put less pressure on yourself?
  • Ask for help?
  • Say “no”?
  • Delegate to someone else?
  • Finally, make that decision?

No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:

  • Deep breathing
  • Meditation
  • Walk in nature
  • Unplug (read a book, take a bath)
  • Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)
  • Connect with loved ones

Conclusion

Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realize.

Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion, and sleep.

There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.

You can ditch that stress mess!

Recipe (relaxing chamomile): Chamomile Peach Iced Tea

Serves 1

1 cup steeped chamomile tea, cooled

1 peach, diced

Place both ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if desired.

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can use fresh or frozen peaches.

References:

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/stress

https://www.thepaleomom.com/stress-undermines-health/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/good-stress-bad-stress

https://www.thepaleomom.com/managing-stress/

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Magnesium for Muscles and Sleep.Help for relaxation and hormone balance.

Are you lacking magnesium in your diet?

42% of Canadians are deficient in the essential mineral magnesium.

Are you stressed,depressed,having trouble falling asleep,suffering from hormonal imbalances?

Magnesium is an essential mineral for maintaining good health.

It helps with healthy bones and teeth.

Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and supports physical workouts and exercise.So if you are an athlete or physically active Magnesium can help prevent muscle cramps.

Magnesium also helps to metabolize carbohydrates fats and proteins.

I personally love magnesium as a natural aid to sleep. Magnesium glycinate is my preferred form for this purchase magnesium here.

Also a powdered form of magnesium Natural Calm which is taken as a warm drink before bed.

With our deficient soils it has been shown that our diets often lack magnesium.

Are you on these drugs?

If you are on drugs  diuretics,birth control pills and medications for high blood pressure these may also cause you to lose magnesium.

Think about adding magnesium to your daily to do list.It will help you sleep better and relax.

Chronic Stress and a Woman’s Body

When a woman experiences prolonged stress, pregnenolone, a hormone essential for both coping with stress and producing female hormones, is diverted from the normal hormone pathway. As a result, the production of female hormones is compromised. This condition can cause a multitude of symptoms including irritability, mood swings, headaches, sleeplessness, and weight gain.

Female hormone imbalances can be treated with hormone replacement therapy (HRT). It does not address the probable root cause: stress. Before a woman begins hormone therapy, it is necessary to assess whether her hormones are reacting to factors that are internal or external.

Stress plays a big part is reducing our levels of progesterone which results in … too much estrogen.

Here’s how: Progesterone is the “mother of all hormones.” It is the precursor and essential raw material out of which the body created ALL THE OTHER HORMONES. As the precursor to all the other hormones in the body, the adrenal glands and adrenal hormones are no exception. If you encounter a mildly stressful situation your body draws on its progesterone to produce the hormones (adrenal corticosteroids) to counteract it. These are the hormones that protect against stress. BUT, if your body is in a constant or permanent state of stress it can’t provide enough progesterone to be converted into anti-stress hormones and the result is adrenal exhaustion and no left over progesterone for other normal body functions.

Both high and low cortisol levels impact body systems and related hormones, particularly thyroid and testosterone. In times of high stress the adrenals will also “steal”progesterone from its reproductive duties to make extra cortisol, thus the imbalance of estrogen/progesterone. Energy, mood, bone muscle and sex drive are the casualties making us feel old before our time.

You can restore health and energy by supporting adrenals glands in a daily way:

  • engage in non-competitive gentle exercise.
  • avoid caffeine pick-me-ups.
  • drink plenty of water
  • eat mostly organic hormone-free food.
  • take anti-stress multi vitamins ( B complex & C)
  • avoid chemicals and pollutants
  • get enough sleep and take naps when needed
  • be open to love & laughter