Have you ever been told by someone; ‘stop stressing,’ ‘don’t stress’ or ‘there’s nothing to be stressed about’? When someone says that to you, do you just want to slap them? I know I do! They talk as if it’s not a big deal, right? When actually, for you and for me, it is a big deal. If whatever it is wasn’t a big deal for us, we wouldn’t be stressing about it, so it’s important to validate our stress. Probably more important, however, is to understand why we have it, the damage it’s potentially causing and how we can break the stress cycle.
My latest podcast Feed the brain to be stress resilient, with Dr Delia McCabe has literally blown my mind and given me a totally new perspective on stress and how to manage it. It’s been a long-held belief of mine that we create our own stress with the thoughts we focus on and the perspective with which we look at things. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still believe that, but there is another very significant aspect at play here, which Delia explained to me on this podcast. You can try as hard as you like to have the right mindset, learn new things and deal with stress the best you can, but if your brain isn’t being fed to allow it to function optimally, all the strategies to manage stress, remain calm and stay in control will be much more difficult. She used the analogy of building a house, and that you can’t just build the roof, or even the walls, or even the floor. The most important part of any building is the foundation. Without it, you will end up with a pile of rubble. Many people’s lives are rubble because they haven’t been aware of the proper foundation to build to ensure they are fully able to cope with the demands of life.
Delia has spent many years researching the field of nutritional neuroscience and what she has discovered about the nutritional impact on brain function and hormone production is game-changing. I am going to do a terrible job trying to relay this information, so I strongly recommend you listen to the podcast to get it straight from Delia. However, she explains that stress is very greedy from a nutritional point of view. For the brain to produce the hormones adrenaline, cortisol, serotonin and melatonin it requires us to consume significant nutrient fuel to allow these hormones to be produced in the quantities we need.
The immediate effect of stress on the body is a release of adrenaline and cortisol, the fight or flight hormones. They are useful hormones, but in too much quantity can be damaging, and need to be balanced by more healing hormones. So, if we don’t have a good nutritional foundation, then these two hormones will gobble up all the available nutrients and leave nothing for the body to produce serotonin, which is the body’s calming hormone or melatonin which helps us sleep. Wow! This is mind-blowing information if you really understand it. The stress cycle you may be currently on, can be simply broken by ensuring that your foundation is strong and that your body has the stores of nutrients it needs to feed all hormone production.
If you needed another reason to start eating better, that’s a pretty powerful one. I am not going to bore you with what you should eat, because you already know it, and Delia goes into detail on the podcast and in her books and blogs. What I do want to ask you is, do you want to break the stress cycle you may be on? Do you want to have better moods and stronger relationships with the people you care about? Do you want to be more productive, make more money and live on a beach somewhere? Do you want to look and feel great? Do you want to live your best life, for as long as possible? I am pretty sure you answered yes to those questions. So, are you finally ready to feed your brain and break the stress cycle?
When you eat real foods, natural foods, like; all the colours of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and quality proteins, you will create a stable blood sugar level, which will keep your moods and energy stable so that you can better handle demanding situations. We already knew that, didn’t we? But, now to know that the food you are eating is either feeding or starving your brain and its ability to produce the key hormones that will lead to peace, love, happiness and sleep is the best news I could possibly share with you.
Whilst yes, your mindset is critical to the task of breaking the stress cycle, unless you feed your brain with the right foods, you are not going to be able to focus the mindset on the things that will help you diffuse and solve the issues at hand. This is so easy to do, so please make the decision today to really start eating the way you know you need to eat. Not just to look great, not just to help you maximise your energy and productivity, not just to help your body function optimally, but also to build the foundation that will allow you to break the stress cycle.