While stress is a natural part of life and everyone handles stressful situations in different ways. Ongoing stress can cause health issues.
Some techniques for handling daily stress and helping break the cycle include:
Restorative exercise such as yoga and Pilates can help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system ‘rest and digest.’
Or simply taking some time out to immerse yourself in Nature.
Herbal Medicine for reducing stress and improving mood.
Herbal medicine are a great option to help with stress and improve mood.
Treatment of the neurological system with botanicals can be traced back to 6000 BC to the ancient practice of Ayurveda medicine.
Adaptogens are a group of herbs that can help the body adapt to daily stressors.
Some adaptogens include:
Rhodiola Rossa (Rhiodiola) is a wonderful herb, as it is a tonic and adaptogen. Herbal tonics assist in restoring vitality in the fatigued patient. It is beneficial in treating anxiety, depression and fatigue.
Withania somnifera (Withania) is also great for managing adrenal stress and fatigue. It is especially beneficial for people getting recurrent colds from stress, as it is also an immune tonic.
Herbal medicine that can help improve mood include:
Rosmarinus officinialis (Rosemary)
Crocus sativus (Saffron)
Its important to consult with a health care professional before taking any herbal supplements.
Vitamins and Minerals to support the nervous system
Miracle Magnesium Magnesium is probably my favorite mineral. It plays a vital role in a number of important functions directly related to mental wellbeing. It can Improve cellular energy production, reduces feelings of anxiety, plus provides support for muscular cramps and tension.
When we are stressed, our body dumps magnesium.
When we exercise and sweat, we lose magnesium.
To boost your magnesium intake from foods, think green leafy vegetables, almonds, cashews, seeds, wholegrains, cacao, legumes, and beans. Or take a bath with Epson salts (Magnesium sulfate) with a few drops of lavender essential oil. This can help soak away your worries.
B vitamins help support a healthy nervous system and improve energy levels.
B vitamins are found most abundantly in animal products but are also present in wholegrains, dark leafy greens, legumes, seeds and nuts.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Anxiety and depression appear to be inked to lower levels of essential fatty acids.
If there are inadequate amounts in the diet, a high-quality fish oil supplement would be beneficial in helping reduce anxiety and the frequency of mood swings.
The Gut-Brain Axis
Our gut is often referred to as the ‘second brain’.
The gut and brain are connected through the vagus nerve, a bidirectional pathway.
There is a huge connection between what happens in our gut and brain health.
Stress and mental health can affect your gut and vice versa. The health of your gut can affect your state of mind.
Our gut microbes ae able to communicate with our brain through the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.
These play a huge role in our mood, energy levels, motivation and sense of reward.
It is estimated that, 90% of serotonin and 50% of dopamine are produced in the gut.
That’s why gut health is so important, and it begins with a healthy diet.
Nourish with Food
'Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food’
Use food to fuel and strengthen your body. The correct food and nutrients can lay the foundations for a healthier nervous system and build your body.
A whole food diet that includes lots of fresh, in season fruits and vegetables, healthy fats from avocado, nuts and seeds, olive oil and lean protein and vegetarian protein sources such as beans and legumes that are packed with fibre.
Avocado: include B vitamins, magnesium and good fats that help you feel satisfied.
Omega 3 fatty acids help improve mood. Sardines, almonds, chia and hemp seeds.
Berries are a great snack that are rich in antioxidants.
Small handful of nuts are a good sources of protein, fats and are nutrient dense.
Processed foods contain additives that can affect mood.
Fatty and fired foods.
Limit caffeine as this can increase feelings of nervousness.
Too much alcohol can disrupt sleep, making you feel fatigued and can add to stress.
If you'd like to know more about which herbal formulas and nutrients are best suited to you, please book in for a Naturopathic consult.