Category Archives: Stress
Stress – The modern poison that is making us fat, bald, crazy and extremely unhealthy
by Carolanne Wright
(NaturalNews) The term stress is tossed around freely in this modern age and has become a casual buzzword for just about any predicament that we find unpleasant. Yet how it truly effects health and well-being in substantial ways is rarely acknowledged. Linked with a range of degenerative diseases from cancer to diabetes to stroke, stress is a silent poison, sapping us of vitality and, oftentimes, spirit. Weight-gain, mental illness and hair loss are common indicators of a life filled with too much stress. Taming this unruly beast should be a top priority for anyone who values solid mental, physical and emotional health.
Three stress hormones that wreck havoc on the body
When we are stressed, the body pumps out three hormones: adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Each is produced by the adrenal glands and all three trigger a sequence of:
– Suppressed neurotransmitter activity
– Endocrine system breakdown
– Poor immunity
– Sluggish digestion
These hormones also influence the body’s response to stress. If we feel the urge to fight the perceived danger, aggression, irritability, rage and violence will be displayed. Flight will trigger avoidance, mental confusion, withdrawal and fatigue. And fright will lead to states of anxiety, apprehension, depression and panic.
Mood swings, obsessive-compulsive and bipolar disorders are aggravated by stress-induced hormonal imbalances as well. These hormones also cause hair loss and fat accumulation, especially in the abdominal region.
The connection between insulin resistance and stress
As the incidence of chronic stress becomes more frequent, so does insulin resistance. When we are constantly in a state of ‘threat’ or ’emergency,’ the body releases glucose to provide fuel for fight or flight actions. Unfortunately, it isn’t truly needed so the pancreas creates a surge of insulin to deal with the onslaught of glucose. Over time, this cycle exhausts the pancreas and creates insulin resistant cells. Ultimately, more stress is placed on the body which perpetuates the pattern. Tiredness, fatigue and exhaustion set in.
When glucose metabolism becomes inefficient, other organs like the brain, liver, adrenals, thyroid and gut begin to malfunction due to insufficient fuel. The development of disease follows, including high blood pressure, arthritis, kidney failure, neurological problems and ulcers.
With such a slew of health issues rooted in an overstressed system, balancing the body to break this harmful cycle is extremely important for well-being.
Calming and replenishing the body
Beyond lifestyle changes to minimize stress such as yoga, t’ai chi and breathing exercises, several supplements are helpful to properly align the hormonal system and reduce the occurrence of disease.
Progesterone – Encourages the production of dopamine, a feel good neurotransmitter linked with positive mood, motivation and normal sexual response. Potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics. Prevents water retention which reduces blood pressure. Balances estrogen and testosterone hormones.
Vitamin D – Stress depletes this vitamin significantly. Maintains proper blood pressure. Strong antioxidant properties.
Glycine and GABA – Two important calming neurotransmitters.
Tyrosine – Diminished by stress. A precursor to dopamine. Hinders inflammation.
Zinc and chromium – Important for balanced glucose levels.
B vitamin complex – Calms the nervous system while providing energy.
Inositol – Helps to decrease insulin resistance. Soothes depression, mood swings, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Also prevents stress related hair loss.
Additionally, the herbs lemon balm, valerian root, passionflower and St. John’s wort along with the amino acid L-theanine show promise in reducing stress as well.
Sources for this article include:
About the author:
Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision.
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By: Scott Quill
“The psychological boost of adhering to a program that you enjoy doing is much greater than the reward you get from any single session,” says Steve Edwards, Ph.D., a professor of sports psychology at Oklahoma State University.
Edwards has identified six distinct exercise personalities. Find the one that best describes you, then follow our tips. You’ll end up ripped and relaxed.
Check Yourself Out
The mirrors in a weight room help you notice when your form starts to fail, but you can also see what you do well. And for you, that’s tension-taming. “Some suggest that vanity is at work here, but it could just as easily be a more profound appreciation of the capability of one’s body,” says Edwards.
Master a Skill Sport
“Get involved in any sport you think is well executed,” says Edwards. The sweet sound of a 5-iron meeting a Titleist, the crack of a big-barreled Louisville, or the plunk of an aced first serve satisfies your senses and leads to less stress.
Add Risk to Your Runs
Try running up and down stadium steps to exhaustion. The stress release is in the danger: “It gets trickier the longer you go. If you mess up, there could be a nasty fall,” says Edwards. Not a stadium in sight? Run outdoors over rugged terrain.
Stop doing three sets of 12 repetitions of every exercise; there’s no challenge in that. Do fewer repetitions and more sets with weights that are near your one-rep max on compound exercises, such as deadlifts, squats, and bench presses. Then lighten the load for power moves, such as jump squats, which appear riskier.
The Social Activist
Join a Team
For you, going it alone is misery—and that only adds to your anxiety. So build your program around group activities and team sports. “Join a jogging or cycling club,” says Edwards. Or, if you spend your time in the gym, create an exercise schedule that’s workable for your similarly stressed buddies.
Disguise Your Exercise
Make all of your activities more active and you’ll find yourself sweating in solitude less often. “Try doing business on the golf course. Or join a Big Brother program and take the kid with you to the gym,” says Edwards.
Don’t Go Too Hard
The more comfortable exercise is for you, the more you enjoy it—and high satisfaction equals high stress relief. So use moderate weights and do a moderate number of repetitions. Just keep your rest periods short to maximize the muscle benefits, says Edwards.
Combine your workout with something you find relaxing, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music, says Kevin Burke, Ph.D., a professor of sports psychology at Georgia Southern University. You’ll focus more on what calms you (good tunes) and less on what you hate (the treadmill).
Shock Your Body
Given your loyalty to sweat, ensuring variety is a challenge. You can avoid irritating ruts and keep your muscles growing with a lottery approach, says Burke. Before you work out, grab a Men’s Health workout poster and several slips of paper. Write down the names of the exercises for the target body part and then draw from a hat.
Avoid Rush Hour
Waiting in line for benches and squat racks interferes with your mission to get fit, so grab the always-available Swiss ball. On an upper-body day, do two or three sets of Swiss-ball pushups to failure. On a lower-body day, do two or three sets of 20 Swiss-ball wall squats: Stand with the ball wedged between your back and a wall. Now squat, allowing the ball to roll with your back as you go down.
The Energized Animal
Add Iron to Your Lunch
The longer you go without exercise, the more stressed you feel, says Edwards. Try to fit a workout into your workday. If you can, go to the gym around 2 p.m., just after the lunch crowd dissipates, so you can finish faster.
Keep a Racket Close By
By stowing your gym bag and other sporting goods in your car or under your desk at work, you can exercise whenever you feel the urge. “This also encourages variety in activities,” says Edwards. “If you’re driving by a park and it occurs to you that a quick run would be fun, you can grab your shoes and go for it.”
Soda, pop, cola, soft drink — whatever you call it, it is one of the worst beverages that you could be drinking for your health. As the debate for whether to put a tax on the sale of soft drinks continues, you should know how they affect your body so that you can make an informed choice on your own.
Soft drinks are hard on your health
Soft drinks contain little to no vitamins or other essential nutrients. However, it is what they do contain that is the problem: caffeine, carbonation, simple sugars — or worse, sugar substitutes — and often food additives such as artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.
A lot of research has found that consumption of soft drinks in high quantity, especially by children, is responsible for many health problems that include tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Why the sugar in soft drinks isn’t so sweet
Most soft drinks contain a high amount of simple sugars. The USDA recommendation of sugar consumption for a 2,000-calorie diet is a daily allotment of 10 teaspoons of added sugars. Many soft drinks contain more than this amount!
Just why is too much sugar so unhealthy? Well, to start, let’s talk about what happens to you as sugar enters your body. When you drink sodas that are packed with simple sugars, the pancreas is called upon to produce and release insulin, a hormone that empties the sugar in your blood stream into all the tissues and cells for usage. The result of overindulging in simple sugar is raised insulin levels. Raised blood insulin levels beyond the norm can lead to depression of the immune system, which in turn weakens your ability to fight disease.
Something else to consider is that most of the excess sugar ends up being stored as fat in your body, which results in weight gain and elevates risk for heart disease and cancer. One study found that when subjects were given refined sugar, their white blood cell count decreased significantly for several hours afterwards. Another study discovered that rats fed a high-sugar diet had a substantially elevated rate of breast cancer when compared to rats on a regular diet.
The health effects of diet soda
You may come to the conclusion that diet or sugar-free soda is a better choice. However, one study discovered that drinking one or more soft drinks a day — and it didn’t matter whether it was diet or regular — led to a 30% greater chance of weight gain around the belly.
Diet soda is filled with artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sucralose, or saccharin. These artificial sweeteners pose a threat to your health. Saccharin, for instance, has been found to be carcinogenic, and studies have found that it produced bladder cancer in rats.
Aspartame, commonly known as nutrasweet, is a chemical that stimulates the brain to think the food is sweet. It breaks down into acpartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol at a temperature of 86 degrees. (Remember, your stomach is somewhere around 98 degrees.) An article put out by the University of Texas found that aspartame has been linked to obesity. The process of stimulating the brain causes more cravings for sweets and leads to carbohydrate loading.
Carbonation depletes calcium
Beverages with bubbles contain phosphoric acid, which can severely deplete the blood calcium levels; calcium is a key component of the bone matrix. With less concentration of calcium over a long time, it can lower deposition rates so that bone mass and density suffer. This means that drinking sodas and carbonated water increases your risk of osteoporosis.
Add in the caffeine usually present in soft drinks, and you are in for even more trouble. Caffeine can deplete the body’s calcium, in addition to stimulating your central nervous system and contributing to stress, a racing mind, and insomnia.
Skip the soda and go for:
• Fresh water
Water is a vital beverage for good health. Each and every cell needs water to perform its essential functions. Since studies show that tap water is filled with contaminants, antibiotics, and a number of other unhealthy substances, consider investing in a quality carbon-based filter for your tap water. To find out more about a high-performance filtration system, click here.
On the go? Try using a stainless steel thermos or glass bottle, filled with filtered water. Enhance the flavor of your water with a refreshing infusion of basil, mint leaves, and a drop of honey.
• Fruit Juice
If you are a juice drinker, try watering down your juice to cut back on the sugar content. Buy a jar of organic 100% juice, especially cranberry, acai, pomegranate, and then dilute three parts filtered water to one part juice. You will get a subtle sweet taste and the benefit of antioxidants. After a couple of weeks, you will no longer miss the sweetness of sugary concentrated juices.
Tea gently lifts your energy and has numerous health benefits. Black, green, white, and oolong teas all contain antioxidant polyphenols. In fact, tea ranks as high or higher than many fruits and vegetables on the ORAC scale, the score that measures antioxidant potential of plant-based foods.
Herbal tea does not have the same antioxidant properties, though it is still a great beverage choice with other health benefits, such as inducing calming and relaxing effects.
If tea doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, try adding cinnamon or a little honey, which has important health benefits that refined sugar lacks. For a selection of healthy teas that promote total body wellness, click here. Drink up!
I hope you find the ways and means to avoid soft drinks. I invite you to visit often and share your own personal health and longevity tips with me.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
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