NaturalHealth365) Chronic stress is one of the biggest causes of illness in America today. In fact, many integrative healthcare providers point to stress as the number one reason for disease.
Simply put, emotional/mental stress can wear out the immune system, increase the risk of depression, slow down brain function and trigger heart disease. Keep in mind, stress can damage our digestive system and its ability to absorb nutrients. Statistically speaking, 75 to 90 percent of all doctor visits as related to chronic or acute stress. (Keep reading for solutions)
Did you know that researchers have found that chronic stress results in hormonal imbalances and disruption of essential signaling molecules throughout the body? These internal imbalances can lead to negative effects to mood as well as an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, osteoporosis, cancer, neurological disorders, infectious disease plus many other health issues.
And, let’s not forget, prolonged periods of stress accelerate the aging process and can cause premature death.
Look at what chronic stress does to our DNA
Some research is showing that the effects of stress register at the DNA level. Chronic stress has been associated with shorter telomeres – a chromosome component connected with cellular aging and an increased risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Normally, some telomeres can be lost each time cells divide. While the telomerase enzyme normally helps with replenishing it, the presence of the stress chemical cortisol can hinder this process. If telomeres become excessively diminished, the cell will become inflamed and eventually die. This is what we call ‘accelerated aging.’
Stress also alters how food is metabolized. Cravings for unhealthy foods are triggered, and the calories ingested have a higher tendency of being stored as abdominal fat. In other words, stress kills us – slowly over time. (Ready for some good news?)
Adaptogens offer natural protection against the negative effects of stress
While stress may be an unfortunate reality of today’s society, there area ways to help restore balance and reduce the negative health effects to the body’s organs, tissues and cells.
Adaptogens refer to nutrients that can counteract the negative effects of stress and restore balance within the human body. Herbal adaptogens help to increase energy levels, boost mood, lower the risk of chronic illness, as well as increase life span.
The top four adaptogens for reducing the effects of chronic stress include ashwagandha, bacopa, cordyceps, and holy basil. They each work differently to assist the body in rebalancing itself when affected by stress. These adaptogens support adrenal function and balance out the chemistry of our body.
Be proactive to protect your continued good health and longevity
Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Indian Ayurvedic medicine and is known to promote stamina, longevity, immunity and fertility. It also reduces inflammation and gastrointestical issues. Bacopa is a South Asian herb known to relieve anxiety and cognitive issues. Cordyceps is a medicinal mushroom that reduces inflammation and oxidative stress while enhancing immune functioning and positive brain chemistry.
And, last but not least, holy basil is used in Ayurvedic medicine and Thai cooking. It has tremendous adaptogenic properties against the effects of stress, including reducing anxiety and depression. It also helps to reduce cortisol, normalize blood sugar, and protect the adrenal glands.
Stress can be deadly, but there are natural ways to reduce its negative health effects. In addition to the herbal adaptogens referenced here, regular exercise, restricting sugar intake, meditation, and spending time in nature can all help to reduce the negative health effects of chronic stress.