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Stress


According to the experts, stress is on the increase in the U.K., partly because of our long working hours culture.  1 in 4 of us are likely to have time off work during our careers due to a stress-related illness.

In my work with clients and businesses, I emphasise the wide variety of day-to-day symptoms that minor or major stress can cause.  These can include fatigue, weight gain, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, poor concentration and memory, back ache, regular colds and flus, depression, IBS, low sex drive and other hormonal problems.

The effects are so wide-ranging because of the havoc that excess stress hormones play with many body systems.

The good news is that the right dietary plan can often calm down both body and mind so that people cope better with pressure.  Together with lifestyle change, dietary change can restore your depleted energy as well as stop your IBS or headaches and get you sleeping properly again.  Proper blood sugar management through diet is essential for this, as is reducing your intake of stimulants and processed food.  People often need help with planning their eating to keep their moods and energy even through busy working days.

Studies have even shown that infertile couples can increase their chances of conception by up to 85% through following a stress-reducing lifestyle and dietary programme.

With chronic or acute stress, more serious problems can arise, such as high blood pressure/cholesterol, palpitations, narrowed arteries, tinnitus, rheumatoid arthritis, M.E./C.F.S., diabetes, insulin resistance or an elevation of homocysteine levels.  (The latter directly increases the risk of more than 50 diseases, including heart disease and Alzheimer’s: see separate briefing on Homocysteine).

People would be wise therefore to be aware of both the day-to-day and the long-term effects of stress.  If you recognise any of the above signs in yourself, you may want to consider some nutritional support.

Note: I give regular, well-received talks to groups of staff on the subject of stress and fatigue, including executive stress and stress-related disease risk.  See Support for Businesses and Organisations for more information.

 

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Sally Whitman of Blackberry Nutrition experienced nutrition consultant and nutritional therapist with a very busy clinic in Cheltenham, near Gloucester, Gloucestershire