Women's Health

Women and Stress

Disclaimer: The following information has not been approved by the FDA. This information should not be interpreted as medical advice and is not a substitute for a visit with a medical care professional. Always speak to your doctor about any health concerns. 

I recently read that despite the many labor saving devices that are a part of our daily lives, women have less free time and more stress than any period in history. Our lives are very busy and high paced and it seems to be increasingly difficult for women to juggle all the demands of life. This creates stress, and stress is detrimental to your health.

The things that cause stress in men and women differ, and so does its physical and emotional impacts. We typically think of stress in relation to major life catastrophes. But it has been found that it is the day to day, or chronic stress, that takes a greater toll on women. Why? Cortisol responses differ between the sexes. Cortisol and adrenaline are stress hormones, designed to get us through life-threatening situations. Because so many people are in stress mode constantly, their body is continually releasing these hormones with short and long term health consequences.

How Stress Impacts A Women’s Health

Every major illness in the U.S. has been linked to stress. What are some of the other ways stress has been found to impact women’s health? Here are a few:  reduced sex drive, irregular periods, decreased fertility, inability to relax or “turn off”, insomnia, low energy, headaches, acne, hair loss, digestive issues, frequent illness, depression, weight gain, poor judgment, drug and alcohol use.

You can find lots of suggestions on-line about ways to reduce your stress levels. I’ve been learning about ways to help a stressed body recover and regain its reserves. It is easier to rebound from short-term stress. Chronic stress has far reaching consequences, making recovery a much longer process!

Assist Your Body’s Ability to Recover From Stress

The core of what I’ve been learning in classes working toward my herbalist degree is that to heal the body we need to begin with “cleanse and nourish”. We “cleanse” to assist the body in eliminating toxins. We “nourish” to provide nutrients the body needs to build and repair, but also the nutrients to heal specific condition or weakness.

Ways to Nourish A Stressed Body

Diet

A person under stress often turns to convenience and “comfort foods”. Poor food choices only add to the strain on your body. Your body needs proper nutritional support to begin the process of healing.

  • Increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
  • Eliminate sugar, junk foods, and highly processed grains and foods.
  • Incorporate healthy fats. Eliminate vegetable or “crop” oils. Examples of healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows
  • Eat moderate amounts of eggs, chicken, red-meat and fish and limit dairy products. It is important that you are consuming animal products that are “clean”. Grass-fed meats, free-range chicken and eggs are best.
  • Try to keep your diet unprocessed and health-giving. Incorporate organic foods as much as possible.

Dietary Aids

  • Super Foods:  Include “super foods” like barley grass, wheat grass, spirulina, green drinks, and fresh vegetable juices.
  • Nutritional Drinks:  There are a variety of nutritional drinks that can be used as a meal replacement or as a snack. Garden of Life Raw Meal® is an easy way to boost your nutrition and one serving is the equivalent of eating a raw meal.

Supplements

  • Multi-Vitamin:  Start taking a whole-food based multi-vitamin. A multi-vitamin is not a replacement for a good diet but helps to “fill in the gaps” nutritionally.
  • Probiotics:  Also include a high potency probiotic. Probiotics aid natural enzyme production in the gut. More enzymes equal better absorption of nutrients, relieving strain on an already taxed digestive system. Probiotics have many other benefits that will assist your body in the healing process.
  • Omega-3 Fats:  These are one of the most powerful supplements for heart and brain health, the digestive system, helping the body absorb protein and recovery of body systems. By nourishing the brain they improve mental clarity, helping a person deal with stress.

Ways To Cleanse A Stressed Body

Be sure to proceed with cleanses in this order. You don’t want to release toxins without having the bowel prepared to move them out of the body.

  • Start With The Bowel: Always start with the bowel. If you are not “regular” (meaning one to three bowel movements each day) you should increase fiber through consumption of raw fruits and vegetables. There are also fiber supplements that may be beneficial. A bowel cleanse is essential to opening up your body’s processes of elimination.
  • Liver and Gall Bladder:  The liver and gall bladder need cleansing and support during this process. There are a variety of cleanses that work on both of these areas. Also taking bitters, or eating bitter herbs, before meals will stimulate the liver to release bile and enhance all aspects of the digestive process. It is essential to actually taste the bitter flavor to receive the benefits.
  • Urinary Tract and Blood Stream:  After you complete the above cleanses it is wise to continue working on this important process and cleanse the urinary tract and blood stream.

Here are some additional ways to move toxins out of the body:

  • Sweat:  There are a variety of ways to achieve this other than just plain physical work. I have learned to incorporate a sweat bath into my schedule. This consists of water as hot as you can tolerate and 1 to 2 cups of Epsom salts. Fill the tub deep enough to cover most of your body and lay back for about 15 minutes. You will know it is working if you begin to sweat heavily from your head. When your ready to get out, just pat dry, put on some loose fitting clothes and let your body continue to release toxins through sweat.
  • Exercise:  Physical movement does more than cause your body to sweat. It assists detox by encouraging movement of the bowels and lymph system. It also oxygenates the blood, and strengthens and tones muscles.

Herbal Support for Stress

The last aspect of helping your body heal from stress is support of the adrenal glands. Herbs used to support the adrenal glands are called adaptogens. These are herbs that help your body adapt. Adaptogens help normalize production of stress hormones and strengthen the body as a whole. They help you deal with stress with less tension and anxiety, promote more energy and better rest.

There are a variety of single adaptogen herbs, but they are often used in synergy blends that increase the therapeutic action. Check out this article to learn about six herbs that can help your body adapt to stressful situations while strengthening, normalizing and returning the body to a balanced state.

A stressed body is hungry for balanced nutrients, quality sleep, and removal of toxins. Just implementing these three support measures can produce remarkable results in helping your body deal with, and recover from stress.

Stop in our store, located in Madison, WI, or contact us by phone or email. A member of our team will answer your questions. We are experienced in finding supplements that meet our customer’s needs. We want to help you “Find Your Healthy Place”!

Sources

http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/stress-symptoms-effects_of-stress-on-the-body

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/30/health-effects-of-stress-_n_2585625.html

http://www.womansday.com/health-fitness/stress-management/10-surprising-causes-of-stress-81829

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/reduce-stress


*Disclaimer: All information and recommendations given on this site, in email correspondence, newsletters or other materials provided by The Healthy Place is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice nor be viewed as a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider. Consult a licensed healthcare practitioner before modifying, stopping, or starting the use of any medications, health programs, diets, and/or supplements, as well as regarding any health concerns you may have. Our statements and information have not been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration. As with any health-related program, product, or service, your risks and results may vary. We expressly disclaim responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or damage caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the information provided to you here.”


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