Effects Of Stress On Our Body: Lifestyle Changes & Dietary Recommendations
In a world heavily influenced by the hustle culture, stress is now a part of our everyday lives. Irrespective of age, gender, or profession, each person is experiencing it at some level. Today, many studies suggest that various chronic health problems are occurring solely due to constant stress, handed to us on a silver platter.
Given the above fact in mind, what exactly is stress?
One can define stress as a form of immense pressure, which results often during an unpleasant situation. Don’t get me wrong, a healthy pressure is necessary for us to perform better but chronic stress has long-term negative health impacts. In extreme cases, it can lead to anxiety and depression.
When under excess stress, our body releases a hormone called Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Under normal circumstances, cortisol helps in various functions like managing metabolism, inflammation, blood sugar levels, and such within our body. However, when secreted in excess amounts, it disrupts the natural metabolism and slows it down. This is one of the main causes of weight gain.
Cortisol also stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism, which leads to a surge in energy in your body (normally required for fight or flight response). Increased cortisol levels come with increased hunger levels and unexplained cravings. In some cases, loss of appetite.
Cortisol also reduces testosterone levels and this causes lower muscle mass. It is catabolic in nature, which means it breaks down molecules and inhibits protein synthesis which then affects your muscle mass negatively. Other areas affected by cortisol levels – anxiety, binge eating, depression, extreme anger and irritability, diabetes, lower immunity, high BP, etc.
Now that we are aware of the negative effects, let’s figure out how to take the right measures at the right time. Here are some small dietary changes that can make a big difference, and bring you a few steps closer to stress-free living.
Weight Loss Tips: Dietary Recommendations
Eating a well-balanced, healthy diet is essential for our bodies to cope with the physiological changes brought on by stress. The first important thing to do to combat stress is to identify the root cause. Given that adrenal function is greatly affected by blood sugar levels. As such, here are some dietary recommendations that help stabilize levels of sugar in the blood.
1. Adopt and consistently follow a balanced diet plan.
2. Include a variety of vegetables & fruits in this plan.
3. Avoid refined carbohydrates – white bread, pizza dough, pasta, pastries, white flour, sweets, desserts, and many breakfast bowls of cereal.
4. Choose healthy millets flour for rotis like jowar, bajra, ragi, soya bean, or multigrain.
5. Include more protein in your diet like paneer, tofu, seeds, almonds, walnuts, legumes, pulses, eggs, fish, and chicken.
6. Avoid emotional eating and eat mindfully. Understand the difference between emotional hunger & physical hunger. Usually, when one is emotional or stressed, one tends to eat more palatable foods, mainly processed food items for instant gratification. It is important to be mindful here and indulge in healthy food for long-term wellness.
7. Make sure to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.
Here are some additional lifestyle management tips you must consider. These are sure to come in handy in the matters of managing stress:
1. Exercise and stay active daily. Exercising is the most effective way to boost happy hormones and reduce stress levels in the body.
2. Get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep. It is the only way to give a refreshing start to your day.
3. Stay hydrated and limit caffeine intake.
4. Start reading or journaling your thoughts. Observe what triggers stress and try to avoid the situation or manage the situation better,
5. Make some time to cultivate personal interests.
6. Make sure you engage in at least one outdoor/physical activity you enjoy the most.
7. Spend at least 1-2 hours with people who enjoy spending time with you.
8. Start practising meditation and gratitude. Begin with dedicating 5-10 mins to it daily and observe your breaths. To settle into the zen mode, you can play chanting music in the background.
9. Walking barefoot on the grass is a beautiful strategy to manage stress.
10. Every once in a while, learn to slow down and enjoy every moment in life.
11. Set realistic goals and always, always take time out to celebrate small wins.
Nutrition & lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on your overall health and can pave the way for better stress management when implemented correctly. It is essential one takes immediate steps to manage stress and to improve quality of life. Of course, these changes are easier said than done.
To make these little yet significant changes to your life, do not hesitate to seek professional help. There are several certified nutritionists and dieticians who can help you realize your fitness goals. If you have been in search of the right nutritionist in Mumbai or you’re wondering “where will I find a nutritionist near me?”, feel free to get in touch with us; a healthier tomorrow awaits you! Browse through http://transformwithnatasha.com/ to know more about our offerings, all designed to bring you good health.