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Counteract The Toxic Effects Of Stress And Watch Your Performance Soar

Counteract the toxic effects of stress and watch your performance soar!

We all know that stress isn’t good for our body. Reports of the effects of stress on our heart and body have been in the news for years. But what about the effect of stress on your mind. Can stress become toxic and can the food you eat counteract it?

Making good decisions in life is about getting and using good information. But what happens when the effects of stress affect your ability to make good decisions?

Stress results when we feel a sense of danger. Our body has evolved to respond to danger by either running away or fighting. When we feel a sense of risk, our brain releases a series of chemicals that trigger our adrenal gland to produce adrenaline and cortisone which help us fight or run.

Unlike the type of danger we faced in centuries past, the type of danger we face today is the loss of our job, the failure of an investment or the breakdown of relationships. None of these require any physical activity. Instead of running and fighting, we sit at our desks, in front of the computer and passively deal with the situation.

The problem is that when we are unable to use these hormones, and when left in the body, they create a toxic soup. Over the long term can have very serious effects on our health and lead to the breakdown of brain tissue. The group of hormones released in response to chronic stress are called ‘gluccocorticoids’.

The synthetic version which is used to treat various disease is called prednisone. If you know anyone who has taken this medication for asthma or arthritis, you will know that it can cause some serious side effects. The part of our brain involved in decision making is the hippocampus.

Researchers have found that chronic stress lead to a reduction in the size of this crucial area of the brain. So if you are faced with chronic stress, chances are you’ll zig when you really should zag.

How can the food you eat help to protect you from the effects of chronic stress? Changing how and what you eat has been shown to have a dramatic effect on the level of stress hormones in our body.

Here are 5 simple changes you can make to protect you from analysis paralysis.

1. Eat at regular times, aim for 3 hours. When you skip meals, the body responds by increasing the amount of stress hormone. This can lead to a chronic ‘high’ level of stress hormone which leads to weight gain.

2. Include fish oil supplements high in omega 3 DHA. Omega 3 fats high in DHA have been shown to correct the balance of arachadonic acid which can lead to a decline in mental health. People who suffer depression have been shown to experience a high level of arachadonic acid to DHA, that can only be improve with a high DHA supplement.

3. Increase you intake of anti-oxidants Antioxidants are found in the colourful part of many fruits and vegetables. These health packed phytochemicals block the toxic effect of free radicals. Free radicals lead to the destruction of membranes in our body and increase when we are in a stressed state.

4. Use a B Vitamin supplement The B group vitamins are involved in a number of processes in the body, including nerve function and energy metabolism. A low intake of B group vitamins have been shown to increase the level of stress hormone in the body. Using a B-group vitamin containing B6, thiamine, niacin and which are essential in DNA synthesis.

5. Drink tea and limit coffee Tea contains an amino acid called theanine which helps our brain change from a stressed alpha state, to a calm, alert and relaxed beta state. When our brain is in the beta state we learn and retain information much more effectively. Studies have demonstrated that men who drink tea regularly, up to six cups a day display less stress and have lower levels of stress hormone.

If you are experiencing chronic stress and feel that you’re not making good choices, then start with simple steps to improve your diet. Start eating regular meals, include more fruit and vegetables, and enjoy a cup of tea regularly. Seriously considering adding a good quality B vitamin and high DHA fish oil supplement, it can really help

29 Feb 2012

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