Fix your Sleep
Fix your sleep. If you become sleep deprived, everything gets worse so really focus on addressing sleep. Take common sense measures such as ensuring your bed room is dark, warm, well-ventilated. Enjoy clean, crisp bed linen more often. Spray essential oils on your body or pillow [lavender & geranium]. Take a hot shower or warm bath before bedtime. Dump all your days thoughts into a diary and make an organised to-do- list for the morning. Turn off all electrical equipment in the bedroom and have no electrical stimuli for 1 hour before bed [tv, phone, ipad] allowing the mind to start calming down. Enjoy a warm drink of chamomile or valerian or peppermint tea. If your sleeping partner snores or moves around alot while sleeping, try a separate room for a period until you get your sleep pattern back to normal. Do not eat after 8pm and do not eat a large meal in the evening. Keep warm throughout the day. In extreme stress periods, medication may be needed from your GP.
Follow a healthy eating programme to ensure blood sugars are well regulated. A low carb programme keeps insulin levels low. A low fat-high protein programme balances lean proteins to slow-release carbohydrates to eliminate insulin peaks. Hypoglycemia [low blood sugars] is caused by skipping meals and this causes the release of cortisol. A high intake of sugary foods and treats causes insulin peaks. Just eat 3 meals a day and 2 healthy snacks. If energy levels are really low, get your food delivered to your home or bulk prepare meals such as stews and soups that last a few days.
Caution with Alcohol
Excess alcohol affects mood, taking us high then dropping us low. It dehydrates us, we lose electrolytes and crave salty, savoury foods the following day. Avoid alcohol when stressed. You can read more about alcohol in one of my 3-part blogs on this site.
Caffeine stimulates the nervous system releasing adrenaline and raising blood pressure and is best avoided if adrenals are overworked. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as redbull and monster..
Some nutrients are more important than others during stress
Magnesium is used in over 300 enzymatic chemical reactions in the body and during times of stress it can become depleted. Symptoms of a deficiency in magnesium often include fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and a predisposition to stress. Foods high in Magnesium are fresh herbs, cocoa powder , dark chocolate, spinach, brazil nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds, almonds and all nuts, beans, mushrooms, whole grains and all plant foods. In times of stress we also burn through our B vitamin stores and I recommend taking a B-complex. The biggest store of B5 is in the adrenal glands which suggest they need B5 to do their job.
Zinc, Copper, Selenium, Molybdenum, iodine are also need for the adrenal glands to function well. Following are their food sources:
Zinc and Copper -shellfish, nut, seeds, beans, wholegrains, meats
Manganese – tea, pineapple, nuts, beans, brown rice
Selenium – brazil nuts, sardines, nuts, egg, organ meats
Molybdenum – above ground plant contains more than below ground plant-Chromium – beans & vegetables, wholegrains, nuts, meat
Iodine – mackerel, mussels, cod, egg, yogurt, prawns
3 additional Protective Nutrients
Eat or supplement more of the 3 primary anti-oxidants – Vitamin C, A and E. They nutrients protect our internal cells from damage.
Vitamin C is vital for Adrenal cortex function and is a powerful antioxidant. Best food source of Vitamin C is fresh fruit and vegetables – peppers, papaya, guava, parsley, watercress, cauliflower, orange juice, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, brussel sprouts, potato, tomatoes.
Vitamin E is found in oils, nuts, seeds, avocado
Vitamin A is found in dairy & orange/yellow plant foods
In response to stress, Vitamin E has been shown to protect the adrenal cortex from free radical damage and reduce cortisol production. All 3 work well together.
Stress may trigger inflammation – control it
If there is any active inflammation in the body eat more oily fish and supplement omega 3. Inflammation is involved in many conditions usually ending with the letters ‘itis’ e.g. dermatitis, conjunctivitis and it involves redness, pain, swelling, heat externally or internally in the body. Other omega 3 food sources are ground flaxseeds/linseeds, green vegetables and walnuts. Omega 3 also helps to sensitise cells walls to insulin and all hormones.
To exercise or not?
Moderate exercise has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol. Excessive exercise is a stressor so please note the word moderate..
Learning again how to Breathe
If the stress has been present for a year or more and you feel that your coping skills are greatly reduced and you find that even ‘small’ challenges or events drive up your stress levels, it is worth learning stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation skills. Learning to breath properly is absolute key– think of it as ‘re-setting’ a system. Laughter, having fun, reading a ‘happy’ book, baking, cooking, gardening, painting, listening to music and doing anything that you absolutely love doing [not involving drugs or alcohol] is good as it relaxes you.
What people took before Valium
Adaptogens herbs have been used for centuries to help the adrenal glands. Siberian Ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng, Rhodiola and Ashwagandha are all examples. They are often combined together in a formula to have the best effect. Caution is advised though in cases of extreme adrenal exhaustion. Seek professional advice from a herbalist. For people with adrenal exhaustion who may have low cortisol levels, liquorice has a molecule called glycyrrhizin that extends the life of cortisol and is therefore helpful to get them through the day [liquorice tea]. It’s also sweet on the tongue. However liquorice is to be avoided if you have high blood pressure.
And finally, keep your friends close. Tell some and not others because every and again, you need a break from talking about your stressor and a distraction.
Comments are closed.