Stress is the response of our nervous system to an unexpected situation. Our brain starts to produce hormones which mobilize our body to action: to fight or to run away. Suddenly our heart rate increases, we breathe faster, our cognitive function improves and our pupils widen. At this stage we are 100 percent ready for action- we are switched onto survival mode. The hormones which are secreted are: norepinephrine, epinephrine, estrogen, testosterone and cortisol. Our brain also produces two neurotransmitters which are responsible for euphoric mood: dopamine and serotonin. We can use sometimes stress in a difficult situation to function at optimum capacity but in the long term all this injection of hormones can cause exhaustion and health problems.
Some diseases caused by stress:
3.Mental health problems.
Eating habits are very important to maintain low stress levels:
1.Reduce caffeine intake
Caffeine also has a massive impact on the hormones in your body. The following hormones are increased under the influence of caffeine.
Adenosine – Alerts you but causes sleep problems in the future.
Adrenaline – Gives you an extra boost but causes a drop in energy when this hormone wears off.
Cortisol – The Stress hormone can make you to store fat.
Dopamine – Makes the person feel good but it’s addictive. It’s possible you might depend on it.
2. Do not eat take away food/ fast food.
Most fast foods lack nutrients. After eating a burger and chips you might still feel hungry as you didn’t receive enough protein and vitamins. Simple carbohydrates in processed bread and chips and poor quality meat full of saturated fat, are not a healthy solution.
Take away foods can as well have a big impact on our financial state. Spending too much money ,especially if you go out with all the family, can be also stressful. Try to cook healthy food all together at home.
3. Not eating regularly and skipping breakfast.
Not eating every 4-5 hours can increase our stress hormones level cortisol which can inhibit our fat loss hormones so it can lead to obesity especially in the abdominal (visceral) area .
What is essential in our good anti-stress diet:
1. Vitamin B : These help the body cope with stress and control the whole nervous system
2. Protein: Assist in growth and tissue repair
3. Vitamin A: Essential for normal vision
4. Vitamin C: Protection of the immune system. Lowers the amount of cortisol in your body.
5. Magnesium: Very important in muscle relaxation, fatty acid formation, making new cells and heartbeat regulation.
6. Reduce Sugar intake: Too much sugar can force the body to use reserved resources. This will result in short term problems such as lack of concentration and fatigue. Sugar also forces the pancreas to over work. This can lead to problems in the long term, such as diabetes.
7. Reduce Fats intake: You should avoid any foods that contain high volumes of saturated fats. These are the ‘bad’ fats that can lead to obesity, heart conditions and cancer. Include in your diet Omega 3 and Omega 6 (avocado, olive oil and fish oils) Good fat can actually help to reduce bad fat!
8. Alcohol: Alcohol will make the body release large amounts of adrenaline that result in nervousness, lack of sleep, anxiety and skin irritation. Alcohol will also increase the amount of fatty deposits around the heart when consumed under stress.
9. Smoking: It’s proven that stress level in smokers are higher than no smokers. Smoking and the thoughts of depending of bad habit irritation or trying to stop and spending money can actually increase level of stress.
Professional diet made by your personal trainer/ nutritionist can lower your stress level and improve quality of your life.