Tag Archives: cortisol

Stress and the Digestive System

We have all suffered from stress at some point in our lives whether due to exams, work, a bereavement, an illness, children, divorce, financial troubles or other. Most of us when under stress instead of finding ways to relax tend to have more coffee, fizzy drinks and sweets to keep us going. When you are stressed the digestive system tends to shut down and you are not assimilating any nutrients. Therefore it is best to eat very light small meals through out the day.

Coffee, cortisol and stress

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands which is released in response to a person being afraid or stressed. In a ‘fight or flight’ situation in the old days the cortisol would be utilised as the person either fought or ran for their lives. Nowadays unfortunately we seem to be more and more stressed and cortisol is not utilised and too much remains in the body. Today we sit at our desk drinking coffee to keep going producing more cortisol and not exercising to get rid of it. Cortisol levels are high in the mornings and lower at night. It regulates blood pressure, helps the body to utilise glucose for energy. It sends a message to the liver to release stored glycogen to fuel the muscles and the brain. However too much stored in the body can result in weight gain, depression, mental illness, impaired memory and brain function. This is why too much coffee when stressed is not a good idea.

Juicing

Juicing is good for quick absorption of nutrients. It takes 15 minutes for the nutrients from a juice to hit the blood stream. This is very good in people that have digestive issues, are suffering  from an illness and their digestion is compromised. It is also good for people that are stressed as stress places a strain on the digestive system.  Juicing is also good as it includes raw foods packed full of enzymes that are lost during cooking. Juicing places less of a strain on the liver. Ideally fruit and vegetable juices should not be mixed together. Apples and carrots are the exception. Since a juice is very quick in hitting the blood stream it is important not to use too much fruit as this can cause a spike in sugar levels. Vegetable juices are best for people suffering from blood sugar problems. Fruit juices are high in sugar and can also cause weight gain as juicing removes the fibre.

Removing the fibre is what makes juices easier to be absorbed as your digestive system does not have to work hard to absorb the nutrients. Also in a juice you can pack larger quantities of vegetables than you would be able to eat. This means you are able to get more nutrients from a glass of juice.

Foods not to eat and foods to eat

Red meat should be avoided as it is hard to digest. Avoid all stimulants such as coffee, alcohol and all fizzy drinks. These will put pressure on the adrenal glands. Reduce your intake of refined white carbohydrates like white pasta, bread and all cakes and biscuits. Stay away from all dairy. No rich sauces.

Cook everything fresh from scratch. No ready made meals. You want to eat foods that are easier to digest like soups, sweet potatoes mashed, steamed fish and vegetables. Include more ginger, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, dandelion greens, broccoli, bananas, tofu, quinoa, millet, spelt, lentils, chickpeas, hemp, pumpkin, sunflower, flax and chia seeds, oily fish like wild salmon and sardines. Try to eat everything baked, grilled or steamed. If you are particularly stressed I would recommend smoothies, juices and soups as these are probably the best foods when highly stressed.

Include more super foods into your diet like wheatgrass shots, barley grass and spirulina. Wheatgrass shots should be taken on their own. barley grass and spirulina you can add to smoothies.

I hope the above has helped. If you would like a bespoke nutritional and lifestyle plan please email me or purchase my online initial consultation.

Advertisements

5 Reasons You May Not Be Losing Weight

You are doing everything you can to lose weight, going to the gym regularly and eating healthy but still no results. As we age our metabolism tends to slow down and we  will often make mistakes. Here below are a few tips to help.

Not drinking enough water

Drinking water is important to remove all the toxins. You should aim to drink at least 2 litres a day. Dehydration not only will lead to feeling tired but as the liver is overloaded with toxins that are not being flushed out it will become sluggish causing your metabolism to slow down. A healthy liver equals a fast metabolism. Not drinking enough water can also cause water retention on your stomach and legs. Always carry a bottle of water with you and sip it slowly through out the day.

Hypothyroidism  (under active thyroid)

An under active thyroid will cause unexpected weight gain. You are doing everything right and you notice that you are putting on weight instead of losing it. Hypothyroidism means your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms will include constantly feeling tired, depressed and weight gain. A simple blood test can determine if you suffer from hypothyroidism. If you suspect this could be the case make an appointment to see your GP.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes  in both men and women can cause unwanted weight gain. Too much oestrogen for example can cause fat gain, bloating, water retention and can also lead to hormonal cancers. Pre menopause and menopause can reek havoc with hormones. This is why from the age of 40 it is extremely important to have regular check ups and blood tests checking your hormones. I would suggest a blood test every three months.

Drinking too much coffee

Most of us enjoy a cup or two of coffee a day, but too much and it can cause the pounds to pile up increasing fat stored in your abdomen. Drinking excess amounts of coffee increases cortisol levels in the body that result in weight gain. This does not mean that you shouldn’t drink coffee. It means that you should not drink more than 1-2 cups a day.

Sitting at your desk all day

You workout every day for about and hour and then you spend endless hours sitting at your desk probably consuming one cup of coffee after the other. Sitting for long hours will increase your chances of weight gain. If you do have an office job it is important that you get up often and move around.

I hope the above helped. If you need more advice or are looking to improve your health and would like a bespoke nutritional plan email me.