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Holistic Healing: Stressed and exhausted

I feel stressed and exhausted. What can you recommend for mental and physical fatigue due to stress?

Michelle Sanchez, Naturopath, Nutritionist and Medical Herbalist answers:

When you get stressed, your nervous system responds by releasing the hormones cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream. This is known as the fight or flight response and it results in certain changes within the body to enable you to deal with stress accordingly. Long-term stress is unhealthy and can compromise your health, often leading to adrenal fatigue where you feel physically and mentally exhausted.

Here are some ways you can relieve stress naturally:

Clean up your diet by cutting out junk food, sugar and refined carbohydrates (bread, pasta, pastries, cakes, biscuits), trans fats (refined oils, fried foods) and highly processed foods. Instead, adopt a nutritious, plant-based diet. Eat plenty of organic vegetables and fruit as they are rich in vitamin C, an important nutrient that helps reduce stress hormones in the body.

Avoid coffee as caffeine amplifies cortisol production (the stress hormone), reduces melatonin production (the hormone that promotes sleep) and dysregulates blood sugar levels; all of which can leave you feeling tired.

Magnesium and B vitamins are essential nutrients when the body is under stress as they are required for cellular energy production, blood sugar regulation and for supporting the nervous system. Increase your intake of leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, spring greens), almonds, wholegrain rice, lentils and avocado.

Adaptogen herbs such as ashwagandha, rhodiola and Siberian ginseng help support and ‘adapt’ the body in times of stress; they can also increase energy levels, physical performance and mental clarity.

Address the issues that are causing you stress, whether that be in your job, your personal life or health. Seek support and guidance from your healthcare provider, a health coach or a nutritional therapist.

Create more balance in your life and support your body by making positive dietary and lifestyle changes.

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