Lisa is a qualified Nutritional Therapist. She has been practising nutrition for 12 years across a broad spectrum of health conditions. She has a special interest in Rosacea, and her research, together with handson experience, led to the writing of her thesis entitled “The Nutritional Management of Rosacea”.
This week I want to follow up on balancing the immune response, reducing inflammation and with particular attention addressing rosacea chronic stress by introducing some stress management techniques into your daily living.
During the stress response, several different hormones are released which cause many physiological changes to occur. These are essential to support the physical exertion required to stand and fight or run away from the perceived threat.
These physiological manifestations during the stress response are many. They include: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, breakdown of glycogen (storage form of sugar) and increased insulin release to ensure the excess glucose is taken in by the muscle cells. The blood is diverted from the central body out to the limbs and head, for fast action and thinking.
This is excellent preparation of the body when faced with a genuine physical threat, but there are also some detrimental side-effects of such a reaction. Any biological processes considered non- essential at the time are down-regulated or stopped entirely. For instance, digestion is turned off, and therefore nutrient absorption does not take place as it should, and there is a significant loss of blood from the gastrointestinal tract, and subsequently a decrease in metabolism.
During this stage of the stress response, there is a decrease in available oxygen to the beneficial bacteria in the gut and their populations diminish.
With the above data in mind, it is not difficult to understand how being in a state of persistent alarm stage stress affects both digestive health and the immune response. Over time the digestive system becomes inflamed, toxins are not eliminated efficiently, nutrients are not absorbed and the immune system (including gut bacteria) experience such onslaught of non-optimum conditions that one may develop any number of imbalances. Most commonly these are Food Intolerances, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Yeast Overgrowth, Bacterial Imbalance, Weight Gain around the abdomen, and Adrenal
Fatigue (for more data on these see previous newsletters).
Having a risk factor for developing Rosacea and experiencing chronic stress, without taking measures to balance it, will result in progression of the condition. If stress and digestive health remain unaddressed, one eventually reaches the full blown condition Stage 4 which is very difficult to control.
Here are some measures you can take today, to help rebalance your stress response mechanisms:
1. Eat your meals in a relaxed manner, while sitting down (choose a place away from your common working area). Chew your food well (increases the surface area of the food for enzymes to act upon.
The nutrients in food can only be absorbed when it is sufficiently broken down). NEVER eat when stressed!
2. Exclude pro-inflammatory foods: gluten, dairy and refined sugar. In the field of Nutrition, we recognise that these foods are toxins that fuel the cycles of inflammation and contribute to poor digestive health.
3. Include anti-inflammatory foods: omega 3 fatty acids: oily fish, walnuts, ground flax seeds, and pumpkin seeds. Use herbs to flavour your meals: garlic, ginger, rosemary, turmeric, clove, and oregano. Always include an abundance of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. They provide many healthy nutrients that can help support immunity, reduce inflammation, remove toxins from the body, and protect against the damaging effects of stress; they also help to protect cells from further damage.
4. Minimize further exposure to environmental toxins and heavy metals by choosing organic foods and skincare products.
5. Introduce relaxation into your daily living. Start by promising yourself just ten minutes ‘alone time’. It is important to choose something that helps you feel relaxed; this is a personal choice and will not be the same for everyone. What you do in those ten minutes should not involve any electronics like mobile telephones, computers, I-pads, etc. and should involve putting your attention out onto the environment.
6. Get sufficient sleep. Many healing processes occur during the deep levels of sleep. The adrenal glands can only recover when sufficient restful sleep regularly occurs. Make an extra effort to get to bed earlier and when possible (weekends for most) remain sleeping until you wake up naturally.
7. Take light to moderate exercise daily. Avoid strenuous exercise that leaves you feeling drained. 30 minutes brisk walking each day is sufficient for anyone trying to overcome long term chronic stress and adrenal fatigue.
8. Learn to take life less seriously. Your thought response to any stress is what sets off the chemical cascade. The thought always precedes the hormonal reaction.
Next week I will give you more data about stress management; how to limit your exposure to toxins
This Week’s Quote:
“If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead toinflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days.” Kris Carr