Sunday, July 09, 2006

You Are What You Eat

You Are What You Eat
By Paul Spencer

Human body in a pentagramThe effects produced in the body by stress and anxiety are in fact a natural part of the body's functioning to prepare it to deal with emergency situations as they arrive.

A child runs into the road, someone pulls out in front of you when you are driving, you are at the start line ready to compete in the race. What happens? Your pituitary gland releases hormones that trigger a whole set of reactions involving adrenal, thymus and lymph glands. Proteins are released, your blood sugar surges, your blood pressure goes up, fat stores are made ready for energy, minerals are drawn from the bones, and the blood thickens to prepare for injury. All this makes the body ready to deal with the "fight or flight" situation presented to it.

What happens though when we do not have a physical emergency situation facing us but instead are subject to stress through emotional reasons such as financial problems, pressures at work, problems at home, hectic lifestyles, fears and worry, the responsibilities we feel are too much to handle?

All the same reactions described above still happen in our bodies, stress hormones continue to be churned out, and it is through being exposed to stress in the long term that causes the body to become exhausted and real physical health problems to surface as a result. We have all heard the saying that stress is a killer, and that is true.

The effects of stress cause an increased breakdown and destruction of body cells and as a result the body calls upon all the raw materials it has to repair itself. If these raw materials are not present however, then physical symptoms arise that in the long term can be life threatening. Your bodily resources become depleted as the body draws on itself to repair the damage done by stress and this can cause premature ageing and weight loss, which is one of the reasons that worrying makes you thin.

Long term symptoms of stress can include:

- Anxiety
- Impatience
- Change in appetite
- Lethargy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Skin eruptions
- Headaches
- Mood swings
- Reduced sex drive
- Difficulty sleeping
- Drinking and smoking more

However, there are ways of dealing with anxiety and combating stress and its effects for a balanced, happy and healthy life.

In the meantime, stay healthy.

About the Author
Paul Spencer is the founder and webmaster of
Optimal Health UK, a free resource giving information and advice on all subjects of healthy living, wellness and optimal nutrition including You Are What You Eat. Paul holds a diploma in Clinical Nutrition.

Picture: Human body in a pentagram.

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