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People these day’s are really stressed out. The reason varies from person to person, but most of the time, they simply can’t turn off the switch to relax. When something like that occurs, you can be pretty sure that your hormones are already unbalanced. Hormones tell the cells and the nerve system what to do inside your body. If hormones are unbalanced, sleep pattern start to change or being relaxed becomes a hard task to do. When stress is already chronic, it attacks the endocrine system with no time for recovery. The typical “exhausted” state occurs when your body needs simply more time to re-order your system, but don’t get any. At some point, your body’s ability to recover from stress can be almost impossible, the typical exhausting occurs. People tend to counter this with stimulants, which of course, only worse the situation. Luckily, with the right steps, it’s pretty simple to help your body to get some balance back.

Sugar

Sugar is a big reason, why your body and your endocrine system becomes unbalanced. The reason is because sugar rises your cortisol and insulin levels, with today’s general sugar intake, to a level that is enormous high. Other than “good” sugar, like brown rice or brown bread, normal white sugar goes incredible fast into the blood stream, causing high peak’s of insulin and cortisol. Both of these hormones are essential for surviving, but also very unhealthy when unbalanced. Cortisol is the stress hormone and insulin makes sure that the cells store all the nutrients into fat. Fat on the other hand contributors to a higher estrogen balance, which decreases testosterone and effects fat storage especially around the waist.

So why do you even crave for sugar, when you are stressed, when it’s actually that bad for you? The answer is simple: When cortisol levels are high, sugar can counter this, by reducing someones cortisol levels due the insulin peak. But since sugar raises insulin only for a short amount of time, high intake of sugar is necessary to counter cortisol. However, when insulin level drop, cortisol levels go back up and causing a storage of the sugar into fat cells. The endless circle begins.

When feeling stressed, slow carbohydrates, such as brown rice are a better choice to “lower” cortisol levels, since they don’t cause a high peak of insulin and are absorbed slowly into your system. The general idea is: Eat less than 100g of carbohydrates in order to help your body restore an unbalanced level of hormones and therefore stress. At first you will feel more exhausted and even angry (due the sugar detox), however, in the long term (after 2 weeks already) you will already see a difference and feel a lot more relaxed then before.

 

Stimulants

Coffee is probably the next no no thing beside sugar when it comes to elevated stress levels. Coffee stimulates the adrenal glands and therefore cortisol production. High cortisol levels are a big no when it comes to be more relaxed. But why do you feel then more relaxed after a cup of coffee? Well, the answer is simple: The sugar in the coffee drops together with the coffee cortisol levels due dopamine release after drinking coffee. However, since the release of dopamine didn’t occured naturally, but with help of an stimulant, the lower cortisol state is just temporary. As soon as the dopamine levels drop, cortisol levels go up. Many people tend to drink another coffee then or even more.

Coffee, especially morning coffee can taste wonderful and make you awake. In an chronic stressed state however, coffee should be avoided to give your body enough time to balance his hormone levels by himself. There are good alternatives for coffee, if you really need something or want to decrease withdrawals. For example, matcha, which is basically green tea powder has stimulant effects but is less harsh then coffee. You can mix it up with milk (but even more better with almond milk / cashew milk etc.) It taste great and doesn’t leave your body in an exhausting state. It also feels less jittery and more like really being awake.

 

Here’s an great matcha powder:

 

High calories intake:

 

When your body is already stressed, high calorie intake can exhaust your body even more. Especially fat and even more trans fats are very hard to digest for your body. It takes a long time to break it down. But don’t cut just simply all fat out of your diet. Fats are helpful for the body. Hormones are made out of fat. But it depends on which kind of fat. There are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats are the ones you should aim for. Foods that contain unsaturated fats are: Nuts, Fish, Seeds. Almond nuts are tasty and not that expensive. Cashew nuts are also a very good source for healthy fats. If you like something for your grill, try some fish. Salmon not only contain an high amount of healthy fats but also a lot of omega 3 and 6, which are very important for the body. If you don’t like the taste of fish you can try sushi. It’s not the best alternative, since it contains a lot of white carbohydrates (white rice) but taste really good and is still better than nothing or unhealthy fats.

To make sure you are not overeating in general, try to eat 3 meals per day and adjust the size of them to the point where you don’t feel full but also not hungry. It may take some time to figure that out, however, you will feel a lot better not being totally “overeating” all the time.

 

Not enough proteins

 

But why are proteins good for stress? Well, proteins play a huge role in the body and basically everything is build up by proteins. 20 of them are essential and need to be eaten all the time to make sure the body works properly. A lot of proteins play a huge role in relaxing the body and helping to have a clear mind. The amino acid Tryptophan for an example, play’s a huge role in being relaxed. Arginin for example, is used in order to make sure your body has enough oxygen everywhere.

 

But is it even possible to have not enough protein’s with today’s eating habits? The answer is, yes, its possible. It’s not common but still possible. The thing is: Often time’s people eat less protein than they thought they do. Eating an yogurt in the morning and fish at the evening? Probably not enough for someone who is a full grown adult. Proteins help the to maintain an healthy metabolic rate, so that your body does burn enough calories. And its true to some degree: When the body works perfectly fine, you will notice some kind of ‘heat’ when you’ve consumed some protein. But the point is, protein takes a lot of time to be broke down by the body itself. This will keep you “full” without eating too much. Protein food sources are excellent for dieting because of that and of course because your body needs it.  With that being said, you should aim for 1-2g of protein per LB. Good protein sources are fish, eggs, almond milk, cashew milk, vegetables. You can also use some protein powder (make sure it doesn’t have any wheat in it and that it contains low sugar or no sugar at all).

Drinking 1L almond milk with some protein powder and eating fish & eggs quiet often (2-4 times per week) will make sure that you will get enough proteins. You could also buy of course all 20 essential amino acids as an supplement and make sure this way to get all necessary amino acids.

 

Allergy’s

 

Now we are not talking about the allergy’s you probably think of with sneezing and having a running nose as typical symptoms. Food allergies normally show much different symptoms, such as diarrhea, headache, bad eye vision, mood swings and many more. Most people also have problems with dairy foods. Try to cut diary foods to a small amount for a few weeks and see if you will notice any changes. At least most people use sally do. Also, try to cut out wheat for some weeks. Some people have a small allergy for wheat, which could exhaust the body silently. In general, try to eat vegetables mostly and a lot of fruits, since they contain many important vitamins and other minerals.

 

There are also several blood tests you can take to check for any food allergies you have. IGG4 is probably the most common test. Keep in mind that most doctor’s don’t take these tests. Instead, look for an alternative health practicer, those normally take these tests.

 

Not enough sleep

Sleep is an important factor. It recharges the body and cleans up toxins and free radicals from the day. When sleep patterns are not normalized, this can cause an unbalance in the endocrine system. But also keep in mind that often times not enough sleep is just an symptom of unbalanced hormones. When the body is so much under “fire” its hard for the endocrine system to calm down. The solution is here to drink a lot “calming” teas and take herbs to help your body re-balance its hormones.

 

DHEA and progesterone and pregnenolone can help as well. But keep in mind that DHEA and progesterone can shut down the bodies ability to produce this hormones by himself. DHEA and progesterone should be always considered when you are already dealing with Adrenal Fatigue and low testosterone symptoms 

Valerian is also a good remedy in order to support your body calming down a bit. Tryptophan is also a really good supplement (see Proteins), because the body builds out of Tryptophan melatonin, the sleep hormone, up.

 

Sport & being active

You probably heard this somewhere before: do more sport, be more active! But how can this contribute in being more relaxed, when walking / moving is theoretical for the body stress? The answer is: Only when someone moves, the body can absorb and “deactivate” adrenaline and other stress hormones, such as cortisol. They key is here: Don’t overdo anything. If you feel stressed and exhausted, doing a heavy workout can worse your situation. Instead, a 10 min walk can do wonders at the beginning. Later, you can increase it to 30 minutes, 1 hour and even 2 hours. When you feel somehow ready, start to jog short distances between your walks. Also, try to squat and do push ups. This will increase your testosterone levels and put your body in an anabolic state. But always make sure that you feel “well”. If your overdo it, your cortisol levels will rise to counter the stress being produced by the overdoing.

If you want to know more on to start being more active, check out my guide about “How to be more active”.

Later along the way, you can also start doing some sport. Whatever you like: Swimming, Basketball, Baseball, Martial Art, Fitness, its up to you!

Once you get the idea, that doing sport the right way will calm you down like almost nothing else, it will become a automatic habit.

 

Conclusion

 

Being stressed is very common thing in today’s world. At some points, the body can’t compensate the stress and is therefore chronically stressed. This can lead to exhaustion and tiredness. When people come to a point where the body can’t help himself anymore with the stress, it’s time to do something against it. There are many factors that come into play whats good or whats not so good when being constantly stressed. Beside supplements, a clean, almost sugar free diet should be the first steps someone should take in order to calm the body down. Also being more active and reducing all stimulant intake to almost zero can help a lot. They key is to find balance again. This will take a while, but its worth it. I hope you enjoyed this blog post! If so, make sure to follow me on twitter & subscribe to my newsletter! 

Here are one of the best and most importing vitamins the body uses & needs when it comes to stress. You can always take them in order to make sure your body has enough of them.