Are you are constantly feeling tired? Struggle to get up in the morning? Crave salty or sweet foods? Find it difficult to concentrate? Suffer from headaches or have muscle tension in your neck or back? You could be suffering from chronic stress or adrenal fatigue.
In our fast-paced, immediate lifestyle, most of us are impacted by stress. Almost every patient I see in clinic is experiencing negative effects of stress; some rate at it highly as impacting their well-being, whilst others rate the impact as low, however often their symptoms suggest otherwise.
Coming from a corporate background, I understand that deadlines are deadlines and sometimes you just have to work long hours to complete a project or launch a deal, or perhaps you are a parent and you can’t escape being woken up many times through the night – however it’s about how you can best support your body during this time.
When we experience mental, emotional or physical stress we initiate our ‘fight-or-flight’ Sympathetic Nervous System. This causes our adrenals to release the hormones adrenaline and cortisol to help deal with the impending ‘threat’, which increases our heart rate, blood pressure and blood flow to our skeletal muscles. However at the same time, our digestion and immune system is suppressed when the Sympathetic Nervous System is initiated.
Some of the key indicators you might be experiencing prolonged stress or adrenal fatigue:
- You find it difficult to fall asleep at night or you wake up during the night with a busy mind
- You often have low energy levels or experience a daily afternoon energy slump
- You start catching more colds & viruses than normal
- You find it hard to relax and always feel ‘on-the-go’
- You experience digestive symptoms such as bloating or feel tired after eating
- You have started gaining a few kilos around your belly
The food we eat can have a huge impact on how our body handles stress. When I work with my patients to support their body during stress, I firstly make sure they have strong base to their diet, such as:
- Consume protein at every meal for blood glucose regulation & to provide amino acids for neurotransmitter formation (which help control your stress response & mood)
- Eat lots of leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, rocket and spinach as they provide folate, potassium and magnesium all good for supporting the nervous system
- Consume good fats, particularly foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as oily fish, nuts & seeds as the EPA component helps reduce inflammation & supports the nervous system
- Remove any foods you may have an intolerance to, as this can create an inflammatory response in the body, worsening your stress response
I also investigate any potential nutritional deficiencies my patients may have, plus I look at pathology testing to check if there are underlying in-balances such as cortisol or thyroid as both could greatly impacting their nervous system & stress response.
For more information on a consultation with our Clinical Nutritionist Kristen, contact us on 9939 8817