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Stretched to stress

Getting sick frequently or taking a long time to recover from illnesses, infections or wounds may be a sign that your immune system is not functioning optimally.

Smoking, excessive amounts of alcohol, poor nutrition, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of sleep and stress can all contribute to a weakened immune system.

Throughout the day a healthy level of stress can push us to get jobs done, reach goals or meet deadlines, complete tasks and be active.

However, too much stress can impair our ability to function, weaken the immune system or make us more susceptible to acute or chronic diseases.

Go Vita Ballarat Naturopath Inka Ferkova says stress can be managed with a number of lifestyle changes and healthy habits.

Vitamin C in the diet

When the body is stress Vitamin C is depleted quickly so replacing it through good nutrition is important. Foods high in Vitamin C include:

  • Citrus Fruits such as oranges, lemons and limes

  • Peppers

  • Kiwi fruit

  • Berries

  • Tomatoes

  • Broccoli

  • Salad Greens

  • Strawberries

  • Watermelon

  • Sweet Potatoes

Foods that contain Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an amino acid found in protein foods that helps to relax the body. Tryptophan is found in:

  • Bananas

  • Beef

  • Fish

  • Lentils

  • Pumpkin seeds

  • Sesame Seeds

  • Milk

  • Soy foods

  • LSA Mix

Regular Exercise

Being active for at least 30 minutes each day reduces stress and helps to eliminate excess hormones produced by stress. Exercise also helps to clear the mind, recalibrate thoughts and often provides a positive sense achievement or satisfaction.

Inka recommends swimming, walking or hiking, yoga, Pilates, gym/resistance exercises, running or jogging and/or stretches.

Night time routine

Prepare the body for sleep at least one hour before bed by switching off digital devices, avoiding sugar and caffeine in the late afternoon or evening and not working into the night.

Inka suggests some of the following things to help reduce stress and wind down for the evening so that the body can recharge for the following day:

  • Have a warm cup of tea (Chamomile, Passionflower, Valerian or Peppermint work well)

  • Diffuse oil or burn incense to create a soft glow and relaxing smells around the house

  • Plan your coming day. Writing your to-do list in the evening may help to free the mind when go to sleep.

  • Have a warm bath with Epsom salts or magnesium flakes to help relax tired muscles.

  • Mediate, do some yoga or breathing exercises to help quiet the mind and clam the body.

  • Listen to soft music helps to slow the heart rate and relax the body.

  • Read a book to distract you from racing thoughts.

As always, a nutritionally balanced diet, regular exercise and plenty of good rest are the best ways to prevent or reduce high levels of stress and keep illnesses at bay.

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