Stress is any physical or emotional strain on the body or mind. Physical stress occurs when an external or natural change or force acts upon the body. Extreme heat, cold, or activity, injuries, malnutrition, exposure to drugs and poisons are examples of physical stress.
Emotional stress may be a result of fear, hate, love, anger, tension, grief, joy, frustration and or anxiety.
Society today is high energy and high tech and stress is forever present. Love, life, finances, work, family, violence and computers are all areas of known daily stress that have a negative effect on our well being.
Stress can appear in our lives as neck or backache, diarrhoea, moods swings, fatigue, insomnia, poor mental concentration, loss of appetite or overindulgence and frequent illness due to an immune system that is overworked.
The bodies physical response to stress whether emotional or physical is to produce more adrenal hormones.
The adrenal hormones are produced by two small glands that sit just above the kidneys. When the adrenal glands release adrenaline into our blood stream it sends off a signal for the body to prepare for action, by increasing blood pressure and heart rate and by making extra energy available for use, as in a fight or flight dilemma. But unlike the old hunter and gatherers day we don’t need to be in such a high alarmed state so the body must react to stress by channeling the body’s responses inward to one of the organ systems, such as the digestive, circulatory, or nervous system. When our bodies respond this way the systems reacts adversely and conditions such as ulcers, hypertension, backache, atherosclerosis, allergic reactions, asthma, fatigue an insomnia often develop.
Nutrients may help in relieving stress. With the increase in the production of adrenal hormones, the body increases the metabolism of protein, fats, and carbohydrates, producing instant energy. As a result of this increase the body then has an increased excretion of protein, potassium, phosphorus and a decreased ability of calcium storage.
Nutrients that are wonderful for coping with stress are DHEA. B-Complex Vitamins (especially B12) are needed for the nervous system. L-tyrosine taken before a stressful situation acts as a stress reliever.
Many of the disorders related to stress are a direct result not of the stress itself, but on nutrient deficiency caused by increased metabolic rate during periods of stress. An example of this is vitamin C, it is utilised by the adrenal gland during stressful conditions, and any stress that is sufficiently severe or prolonged will cause a depletion of Vitamin C in the tissues.
If you are in a stressful lifestyle you need a well balanced nutrition plan that replace any depleted nutrients. Whole grains breads and cereals, fruits, and vegetables, and enough protein to sustain cellular repair.
Exercise is a natural stress reliever, try doing some aerobic exercise, it will help you feel invigorated or try doing a yoga class or a relaxation technique every day, a hot bath does wonders to soothe the mind and body before bed.
Onions induce relaxation and drowsiness
Herbs that may also be beneficial are goldenseal (muscle relaxer), hops, peony root, Siberian ginseng, Passion flower, chamomile, lavender, rose hips and rosemary.