This article from the time when Houston faced the challenges of recovering from Harvey offers important stress-fighting tips for another time when stress threatens our best health.
“Stress generates anxiety, and anxiety keeps our minds in motion,” says Mark Stengler, NMD, of Encinitas, California. Meditation, soft music and disconnecting from the stresses of life (at least for a while) can add a semblance of balance. “Luckily,” Stengler suggest, “we can choose from several natural substances to help us stay calm when the world around us is in turmoil.”
In Harvey’s aftermath, no one understands turmoil better than those whose lives have been upended by flood. Suddenly, our world, a 24/7 anxiety-generator even in the best of circumstances, feels like one, big stress-ball, waiting to pop.
Reduce the impact of chronic stress and the stress of Harvey on your body by keeping these key nutrients in your diet, whether in foods or as part of a supplement regimen.
Many Americans don’t get enough B vitamins, making this supplement a good first defense. Researchers determined way back in 1943 that B vitamins had anti-stress and anti-anxiety benefits. Since then, they’ve discovered the brain uses B vitamins to make neurotransmitters, the chemicals that influence mood. For example, in a study of stressed-out office workers, taking high-potency B-complex supplements eased stress, confusion and anger. A high-potency multivitamin, which contains the B’s, is equally effective.
B vitamins are water-soluble, which means you need to replenish them daily. In addition, some people have difficulty absorbing standard forms of certain important Bs, such as folic acid and B12. Look for the methyl forms of these vitamins in order to increase absorption.
Found in brain cell membranes, phosphatidylserine protects against the damaging effects of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. A study by German researchers found that high doses reduce cortisol and stress levels in men. College students who took phosphatidylserine had better moods, experienced lower stress and had less “neurotic” behavior. In seniors, phosphatidylserine can improve memory.
Since there are only a few foods that contain substantial amounts of phosphatidylserine, such as bovine brain and soy lecithin, levels of this phospholipid may best be increased through supplementation.
We need omega-3s—specifically EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)—for brain development as infants and children and to maintain healthy moods as adults. Studies have shown omega-3s have a powerful calming and anti-stress effect. Medical students at The Ohio State University found that omega-3 supplements led to a 20-percent reduction in anxiety symptoms. Other studies show that omega-3s have broad mood-enhancing effects, diminishing anxiety, depression, irritability and hostility. Good news for vegans: Omega-3 supplements are now available from both fish and plant sources.
When supplementing for omega-3s, be sure the combined EPA and DHA in your supplement equals at least 1,000 mg or more in order to meet the recommendations of most experts. Determining the EPA/DHA totals in your supplement requires you to look at the actual Nutrition Facts label on the back of the bottle, as most products show the total weight of the fish oil on the front of the label, which is not indicative of the amount of EPA/DHA in that total weight.
This often-overlooked herb has been shown to effectively minimize anxiety in healthy people and those about to undergo surgery. It also promotes sleep without causing druglike sedation or grogginess. According to Web.MD, “Passionflower is used for sleep problems (insomnia), gastrointestinal (GI) upset related to anxiety or nervousness, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and relieving symptoms related to narcotic drug withdrawal.”
In 1569, Spanish explorers in Peru discovered this plant, whose flowers they believed symbolized Christ’s passion, which they interpreted as God’s approval for their exploration. Prior to 1978, passionflower was an approved, over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the U.S. It’s approval as an OTC for these purposes was removed due to a lack of proof for safety and effectiveness. Today, passionflower is sold in combination or as a stand-alone herb.
When it comes to fighting stress, balance is key. Whether you are balancing your nutrition intake, your activity and rest, or work and play, realize that the energy you expend to reduce stress is well spent. Let Betsy’s help you with your supplement needs when it comes to your stress-reduction program. We’ve been helping customers make the best product choices for a quarter of a century.
Betsy’s Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your health care provider before beginning a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition or take medications. For example, PS, omegas and passionflower thin blood. Also, PS and passionflower may be contraindicated with certain brain and sedating medications.
Article copyright 2017 by Delicious Living and Jack Challem. All rights reserved. Used with permission.