During times of stress its really important to support key stress hormones and take a closer look at wellbeing matters.
Eating mineral rich foods and the correct essential fatty acids can have a significant impact on your overall state of mind and wellbeing.
Its been proven that eating well has a significant impact on brain function and moods.
So are you getting the right balance with the food and good fats ?
To get these right, we all need to give our bodies a little more support during stressful periods and therefore supporting the body to optimise the happiness hormone known as ‘serotonin’ is a key brain chemicals driver that regulates mood.
Cortisol – a key hormone we hear time and time again ..
A key hormone that impacts wellbeing levels – when the body ,mind or spirit is stressed so are our hormones.
Stress hormones get elevated naturally during the course of a day. This is as a natural result of the homeostasis process. When we experience any stress, this cause our immune system /endocrine system to suffer and the place we feel it most are the adrenal glands which sit above the kidneys. This is where we respond to the stress as a fight or flight response.
Cortisol effects the ‘fat mass in the body’ which is why may can put on weight after stressful periods. This is mostly because our body becomes inefficient and bodies and tired which results in the function being impaired – and leads to the distribution of fat into cells randomly. Simply put, cortisol increases our ‘fat and adipose tissue’, leading to abdominal fat which for women is often where it gets dumped. Increased cortisone also reduces our muscle mass, and alter the body composition of fats.
This is because Cortisol regulates the process of fat cell development and the break down ‘lipolysis’. The result can be an in increase fat mass which then causes insulin resistance and risks of common disease such as diabetes and high cholesterol etc.
Cortisol levels has an impact on other hormones affecting the endocrine system such as the thyroid, which is our growth hormone, can affect reproductive health, the hypothalamus, pituitary, and other key organs which play a major role on wellbeing silently every day.
If Cortisol levels go unattended they can have a lasting impact on us and the stress will result in fatigue, feeling over anxious, lower mood and vitality levels including ‘depression’.
Practical things you can do to keep the Cortisone hormone in check:
- 1. Get the Right Amount of Sleep. Try to go to sleep before 10.30- 11pm. Timing, length and quality of sleep all influence cortisol levels
- 2. Exercise everyday, a regular amount of exercise is essential
- 3. FLOP – learn how to flop and do this for at least 20 mins every day
- 4. Get wise – learn to recognise your stressors and literally cut them out.
- 5. Speak to someone who knows you well and ask them to help you look at this.write a pro and cons list – leave what not urgent and plan how to tackle everything else – Over thinking causes stress too!! – so do not leave things unattended that bother you.
- 6. Learn to find things to help you Relax. I walk, practice Yoga and sit out in nature to oxygenate my blood. This is vital too – what things could you begin to to do?
- 5. Have more Fun and laughter. Call someone who makes you laugh and have a little fun!
Insulin also plays a role in anxiety and mood swings
What we eat affect how we feel and so eating well is essential
Eating good wholegrains and good carbohydrates’ – and cutting out the dense food made from refined white flours or convenient foods such as bread, pasta, an excess potatoes, cakes, biscuits, processed or ready meals.
Caffeine – robs the body of minerals
Excess sugars/ sweets are not nutrient rich! and take it toll on the body, mood and mental health.
Refined flour products are white ’empty’ calories and bad carbs which force your body to secrete high doses of insulin in an attempt to lower the spike in blood sugar. Over time, this kind of chronic overproduction of insulin creates and a state called ‘ hypoglycemia ‘ which can be experienced as low blood sugar, shakiness, fatigue, irritability, and yes, increasing anxiety. Depression in severe cases.
This is all because the body pump out more cortisol which will affect our ‘mental state’- the body is amazing and always gives us its best effort protect the brain and heart from dangerously low blood sugar levels.
The body cannot run on empty. This is why estrogen when at its optimal level, is designed to have a calming effect on the brain. When estrogen levels are too low or too high (which happens during the premenstrual phase PMT, perimenopause, menopause and other times for women who suffer with any hormone deficiency), or your ratio of estrogen to progesterone is off, you may experience signs of low mood, stress and anxiety .
Boost health and mood with essential B vitamins – AND REAL FOOD
B vitamins are in most greens. These are essential to wellbeing maintenance and often referred to as the ‘stress vitamins’ because deficiency can show up as irritability, low energy, tension and anxiety. They are needed to make brain chemicals, including serotonin. B6 (pyridoxine) helps the body turn food into energy. It can also help the body fight infections. Essential during pregnancy and for anyone breastfeeding to help babies’ brains development milestones.
There are new studies that have found the links to low levels of folate and B12 and depression Swansea University undertook a study and concluded high levels of vitamin B supplements may be effective in improving mood states and perceived stress in healthy individuals.
B12, Iron and B6, all enhance the response to antidepressants. They also conducted a study over a 12-month in which they concluded folic acid and vitamin B12 could be tried to improve treatment outcomes in depression.
B12 is found in dairy products, eggs, meat, fish, vegetables, such as bell peppers spinach, baked potatoes, beans, legumes, chlorella, spirulina, sea vegetables, pulses and lentils.
Eat the Right fats
Fatty acids from omega 3 rich sources are essential for healthy brain health. Many studies have confirmed this using an evidence based approach. Flax, pumpkin, chia, oily fish e.g salmon, sardines, mackerel and trout, and other nuts such as walnuts.
Seeding is good for women – at every stage of our ‘ fertility and wellbeing journey’- I do a lot guidance on this subject and run retreat days and workshops for women’s health to NourishYin™. Email me if this is something that you wish to get some guidance on or wish to join a future workshop/talk.