Healthy Living Ideas: Stress

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Stress. The word is used so much these days. Is it real? Can it hurt you? What is it? What can be done about it?

Stress can cause us significant problems. Stress releases powerful neurochemicals and hormones that prepare us for action (to fight or flee). If we don’t take action, the stress response can lead to health problems.

One way stress is thought to affect the body is by causing digestive dysfunction which can affect Vitamin B production and absorption. Since B Vitamins are required to produce dopamine, serotonin, epinephrine, and other brain chemicals, it is important to take a good multi-vitamin, an EFA supplement, and possibly a mineral as well.

Oddly, stress seems too often be caused by a lack of epinephrine, also called adrenaline. This is a hormone released by the body into the bloodstream in response to physical or mental stress. Some of the best stress supplements include tyrosine and GABA, necessary for the adequate production of epinephrine.

Minerals are known as calming supplements -- particularly calcium and magnesium. When selecting a multi-vitamin, it is important to choose one containing a good amount of minerals, or ensure that minerals are taken in another supplement. Many find that taking their calcium before bed relaxes them and it has been said that it is better absorbed during sleep.

Exercise stimulates production of another class of hormones which fights stress called endorphins. These are morphine-like chemicals which block pain and improve mood. It is important to exercise 3-4 times per week to produce adequate amounts.

Studies suggest the best-known single herb to combat both mental and physical stress is Ginseng Root. It has been shown to improve mental activity and it helps the body adjust to stress, as well as providing numerous other benefits (including improving immune system function). Other herbs helpful in combating

Adequate nutrition is very important when the body is under stress. A good way to combat stress is by taking a daily multi-vitamin. Also effective are herbal and mineral supplements and Omega 3/EFA’s. But it is as equally important that your customers understand the importance of following a smart diet plan and eating well (eating correctly portioned proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy oils). Exercise 3-4 times a week is another factor that will combat stress as exercising stimulates the production of endorphins. It is important to avoid hydrogenated oils (in margarine and many processed foods) and Trans fats (fried foods). Following this type of diet and avoiding too many starches and sugars provides excellent mental focus and balance.