Energy & Stress

Certain key nutrients are critical to helping us deal with stress and increase our energy levels. Read on for ideas and supplements to help support energy levels & your body's management of stress.

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Energy & Stress
5 Benefits of CoQ10
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5 Benefits of CoQ10

CoQ10 (co-enzyme Q10) is a substance found in our body that is ..
5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress
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5 Easy Tips To Reduce Stress

Stress can be a debilitating condition. It can have serious effects on your emotional and psychological well-being, making your life feel like a never-ending bad dream. Stress also has serious implications for your physical health and can play a role in development of a range of diseases and conditions...  

Stress Related Diseases

Stress-related diseases include (but aren't limited to):
  • psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • muscle spasms
  • headache
  • depression and other psychological conditions
  • high blood pressure
  • anxiety
  • panic attacks
  • heart attack
 

Symptoms of Stress

If you are likely to be subject to highly stressful  experiences or environments, it is important  that you understand the symptoms of stress. This will help you self monitor and know when your stress levels are elevated and - perhaps - hamful. It is also critical you have a plan to deal with that stress once you've identified it. Symptoms of stress include (but are not limited to):
  • agitation and frustration where you normally might not feel that way
  • low energy
  • an over-active mind / experiencing trouble quieting your mind
  • headaches
  • stomach upsets
  • feelings of muscle tightness / anxiety
  • insomnia
  • lower self esteem
  • increased use of alcohol or other substances
 

5  Easy Ways To Deal With Stress

It is important to note that if you are experiencing ongoing stress that you do not feel capable of handling or if you are suffering sever stress symptoms, you should talk to your health professional. If your stress is work-related, it may be appropriate to talk to your manager or supervisor. For lower to intermediate levels of stress, the below potential coping mechanisms may help during times of stress.  

1. Talk to Someone

The anxiety and tension that accompany stress can often be (at least partially) relieved by talking to a friend, councillor or doctor. Having a sympathetic ear that you can share your problems with will not only help you feel better, it can also be a useful way to identify the main causes of your stress. Thirdly, it is a great way to work out strategies on how you can mitigate the source of your stress. Having a fresh perspective on the situation can help you see past the blinders we sometimes have on during times of stress.  

2. Resist Temptations

During stressful times, it can be enticing to have a drink (or four) to calm the nerves. Alcohol and substance abuse are common coping mechanisms in Australia. These substances may offer temporary relief from stress, but only serve to amplify stress symptoms once their effect wears off. Do your best to resist.  

3. Chill Out / Fire Up. Every Day.

Finding activities that reduce stress, and forcing yourself to do them every day, is a critical stress management technique. However, the exact activities that help relieve stress will vary from person to person. If you tend to fire up and become angry or agitated during times of stress, force yourself to do an activity every day that calms you down and helps quieten you to counter that. Similarly, if you tend to become depressed or withdrawn under stress, try to make your daily stress relieving activity something that excites and stimulates you, something that energises and excites you.

4. Diet and Exercise

There are a wide range of benefits from exercise. Exercise reduces stress. It boosts endorphins. It has a calming, mind-clearing  effect similar to meditation. It boosts mood. Whilst exercise of almost any type can help reduce stress, aiming to get 45 minutes of high intensity exercise 3 times or more per week can work wonders for your ability to deal with stress. Diet is another important way to deal with stress. When you are stressed, your body has an elevated need for vitamins and minerals, making it all the more important that you eat a variety of healthy foods to support your health. In particular, your body may need increased levels of: - Vitamin C (oranges, red capsicum, chilli or Super Kale). - Vitamin E (almonds, tofu, spinach, avocado) - B Vitamins (meats, fish, poultry, milk, dark green leafy vegetables or Super Spirulina)  

5. Try a Supplement

We always advocate eating a healthy diet over taking a multivitamin. However, during times of stress, we usually don't have the time to create a meal plan, buy groceries and cook healthy meals. As such, a broad range multivitamin may help support your body during times of stress. Look for one that contains vitamins C & E, plus magnesium for relaxation, lemon balm (traditionally used to help rest and relaxation) and the B vitamins. Alternatively, Super Spirulina has been called "Nature's Multivitamin" due to it's high vitamin content. Including it in your cooking, juice, smoothies etc can give an added nutrient boost to help your body deal with increased demand during stressful times. ------ This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. For more information on handling stress, visit www.health365.com.au.
Stressed? You may need more B Vitamins.
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Stressed? You may need more B Vitamins.

The research into the importance of B Vitamins for dealing with stress is well documented. One study coming out of Swinburne University in Melbourne found that participants taking a Vitamin B-Complex supplement reported a 20% reduction in work related stress. This is in contrast to the control group in the study, who were given a placebo and reported no significant change in stress levels. Vitamin B is not one vitamin, rather it is a group of vitamins that can help support our bodies during stressful times. Let's look at each of the B Vitamins that can help support your body during stressful times, and why each is important.

Vitamin B1: Thiamine

Foods rich in thiamine include fish, nuts, seeds and green peas. Thiamine is needed for:
  • maintaining nerve health.
  • mood regulation
  • energy production
  • may play a role in memory and concentration.
 

Vitamin B3: Niacin

Foods rich in niacin include beetroot, beef liver & kidney, fish and seeds. Niacin is needed for:
  • supporting the digestive system.
  • mood regulation (B3 deficiency can lead to depression, irritability, stress and mood disturbances).
  • Energy production.
  • Control of blood sugar and nerve health.
 

Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine

Food sources of pyridoxine include bananas, beef / turkey liver, tuna and chick peas. Pyridoxine is needed for:
  • helping manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety.
  • immune system support.
 

Vitamin B9: Folate / Folic Acid

Food sources of folate include broccoli, spinach and dried legumes (chick peas, lentils, beans). Folate is needed for:
  • energy production.
 

Vitamin B12: Cyanocobalamin

Food sources include fish, meat (especially liver), poultry and dairy. Vitamin B12 is needed for:
  • general brain support.
  • supports melatonin and serotonin production (both of which are critical  to mood, relaxation and sleep.
 

Consider a Vitamin B Complex Supplement

The B group vitamins are not stored b y the body like many other vitamins and minerals. Whatever B Vitamins you eat that are not absorbed by your body are excreted within hours. As such, a Vitamin B Complex like Nature's Way Mega-B taken daily might be of benefit, particularly during times of stress when we tend to neglect our body and diet. Taking a Vitamin B Complex supplement is a good way to 'top up' your daily vitamin B levels and, research suggests, may be an effective way to reduce stress levels (or at least better equip our bodies with the right nutrition to deal with stress).
3 Tasty Superfood Recipes for Stress Support
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3 Tasty Superfood Recipes for Stress Support

A critical element of dealing with stress is living a healthy, active lifestyle. Putting the wrong foods in your body, or using cigarettes, alcohol or drugs to help you deal with stress only makes the problem worse. Regular exercise, abstaining from ingesting toxins and eating a range of healthy foods provides a solid platform for surviving stressful times. Try the below 3 stress-busting recipes from our Nature's Way SuperFoods Recipe hub.  

1. Maca Guaca

Maca provides a range of benefits, not the least of which is nutritional support during times of stress. Maca is a class of nutrient called an 'adaptogen'. Adaptogens are natural products that are considered to support the body during times of high stress and exertion. Maca provides key nutrients to help with mood, stress and relaxation. Furthermore, the avocado in this superfood guacamole recipe is rich in B Vitamins. Your body has an increased demand for B vitamins during times of prolonged stress. Try the Maca Guaca recipe now.  

2. Chia Cacao Coconut Clusters

Created by Scott Gooding and Luke Hines, you won't believe the Chia Cacao Coconut Clusters recipe is healthy! The recipe uses chia seeds, which are rich in B Vitamins (which we have already covered as being critical during times of stress). It also contains cacao, which is high in magnesium. Magnesium is critical for relaxation and muscle function... lack of magnesium can leave you restless, anxious and agitated. Finally, the recipe also contains almonds. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, which fights the free radicals associated with stress. Try our Chia Cacao Coconut Clusters Recipe now.  

3. Brain Booster Smoothie

This smoothie contains acai, which is rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C  can help reduce the physical and psychological effects of stress. Further, the recipe contains coconut water. Preliminary research suggests coconut may be beneficial for brain health and mental function. Try the Brain Booster Smoothie now. ---------- This article was bought to you by our online partner, Health365. To buy superfoods online, visit www.health365.com.au/shop
Why You Need Fibre In Your Diet
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Why You Need Fibre In Your Diet

Increasing your fibre intake may - at first - seem like a bit of a ..
The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep
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The Effects of Alcohol On Sleep

Alcohol is a depressant. That is, a substance that reduces stimulation and mental / physical activity. In theory, a depressant like alcohol would usually help a person get to sleep and/or sleep more soundly. However, excessive alcohol actually thwarts your ability to get a good night's sleep. We take a closer look at the effects of alcohol on sleep, and the reasons why alcohol can ruin a good night's sleep.

How Alcohol Effects Sleep

1. Alcohol is a diuretic.

Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it increases the excretion of fluids from your body via sweat and - more typically - urination. This effect makes it more likely you will have to have to get up multiple times during the night to go to the toilet. Of course, this hurts your chances of deep, truly restful sleep. The diuretic effects of alcohol also leads to a second sleep disruptor... thirst. Your body needs water to replace the lost fluids, and this need for water can cause interrupted sleep as your body tries to tell you it is running low on it's most important nutrient.  

2.  Alcohol Increases Snoring

Drinking excessive alcohol may not just be bad for your sleep. It may also be a bad thing for the person you share the bed with. Snoring is typically caused by the partial blocking of airways, which leads to vibration as we breath in and out. This vibration is what causes the snoring sound. Alcohol can act to relax the muscles around the airways, which can stop air flowing in and out of our lungs as freely as it needs. This will increase the chances you will snore, and snore loudly.  

3. Alcohol = Sugar. Sugar = Bad.

Most alcohols (and common mixers) contain sugar. This has the obvious problems of causing a spike in blood sugar levels if you drink just before bedtime. This spike disrupts sleep, among other things. Excessive sugar also depletes the body of magnesium, a mineral that is critical for muscle function and relaxation. If your magnesium levels are low, you may notice you feel restless, anxious and have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.  

4. Alcohol Needs to be Processed By Your Body

Your kidneys and liver process alcohol. Depending on how many drinks you have had and when you stopped drinking, your  kidneys and liver continue working away at metabolising and processing that alcohol for many hours after you nod off to sleep. This means your organs are working away at a time when they should be reducing activity so they can rest and recover for the next day. This, in turn, causes a number of problems for sleep. When we metabolise a food/drink (including alcohol), an 'exothermic' reaction occurs. That is, metabolism gives off heat and raises our body temperature. This can make temperature regulation more difficult and - combined  with the sweating and dehydration effect caused by alcohol - results in an overheated, uncomfortable night's sleep. Furthermore, when we metabolise a food/drink, energy is produced. Does energy production sound like something that is a good idea of a night time when you are trying to sleep?  

Final Tip

We have covered the main negative effects of alcohol on sleep, but excessive alcohol consumption in general can have a number of negative effects on your  health and mental wellbeing. If you like a drink, we recommend sticking to the Australian Federal guidelines for alcohol consumption to ensure it doesn't adversely affect your health. These guidelines can be found at http://www.alcohol.gov.au/. ------ This article was provided by our online partner Health365. For more information on getting a good night's sleep, visit www.health365.com.au.
How To Stop Snoring
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How To Stop Snoring

Snoring might be embarrassing for you, but it can be torturous for ..