SO YOU THINK that your stress is only due to outward circumstances, such as a stressful job, a busy lifestyle, the crying and screaming children you come home to, OR a recent fight with your partner? That as time goes, you’ll get used to it, or it will pass?
Well, THINK AGAIN.
As much as the belief that stress comes about because of external circumstances may be partially true, there is a huge correlation between the stress you feel, and the food that you put in your body.
A good example that illustrates the power of stress, was given by Veronika Van Der Spek (a psychiatrist and nutritionist), who writes that:
We have all played with an elastic. Let’s pick it well and let’s take it into our hands while it is still supple. Let’s stretch it until its tension is maximized. Then, let’s let it go so that it goes the furthest possible distance. The game only lasts a certain time, but after a while, the elastic is so stretched out that it breaks.
(Translated) Veronica Van Der Spek -Nutrition et bien-être mental: Pourquoi et comment notre alimentations influence notre cerveau?
When something from the external world changes, we react to it through stress as an adaptation mechanism. This in turn leads to a change in the balance of chemicals in the brain.
If we are in a stressful situation for too long, these imbalances can lead to different health problems such a generalised anxiety disorders, depression, high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, atherosclerosis, arthritis, and even allergic reactions.
To add pain to injury, Aileen Burford-Mason writes that joyful situations could also be sources of stress.
Both small and large stressors combine to defeat us.
The Healthy Brain: Optimize brain power at any age
When I read that a little *light bulb* popped into my mind – my constant stress for the past four years could not have been THAT bad right? I must be able to get over it on my own.
Ignoring it and telling yourself, “you’re fine”, ends up being worst for you AND your brain.
(If you want more details about the brain an it’s specific processes through stress 👉go grab the book cited at the bottom of this blog post)
I now want to concentrate on this question: how do we use this knowledge to help ourselves rebalance what has been changed up in there?
Some suggest that NUTRITION is the key.
What you eat on a daily basis can CHANGE the way you end up feeling in stressful situations.
Even better, it can help you tackle the “elasticity” of that stress – so that in the end proper nutrition can prevent YOU from breaking (like that elastic).
You are NOT supposed to “accept” stress. You can do something to help yourself.
Stress leads to a deficiency in nutrients.
Therefore, supplementing these nutrients is a good idea to reduce the consequences of stress. First of all,
- avoid coffee, alcohol or cigarettes
- Add sources of magnesium to your diet
- Mineralised water
- Whole wheat cereal
- Diminish consumption of dairy products
- EXCEPT yoghurt because it prohibits the absorption of magnesium
- Get pharmaceutical supplements such as:
- Vitamin B6, B9, B12
- Ask pharmacist or doctor about others
- Vitamin C
- Tyrosine (FYI: helps for presentations or stressful situations)
- Exercise, of course
*It seems that studies show that if your body does not have the appropriate amounts or the appropriate kinds of vitamins, while taking certain medications, it affects the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
In other words, the effects of these medications are diminished.*
Nutrition, and being aware of what affects what, is thus extremely important and can significantly improve or diminish your quality of life and your response to stressful situations, the good and the bad ones.
Works cited:Burford-Mason, Aileen, The healthy brain: optimize brain power at any age, Harper-Collins Publishers Ltd, 2017.Van der Spek, Veronica. Nutrition et bien-être mental: Pourquoi et comment notre alimentation influence notre cerveau?, Groupe de Boeck, 2012.