From pimples on your thighs to a constant sore throat: Seven surprising sings you’re stressed and how to fix them
Four out of five adults feel stressed during a typical week with one in 10 stressed all the time, according to a new survey.
In fact, four out of five adults feel stressed during a typical week with one in 10 stressed all the time, according to a new survey.
An “always on” workplace culture only make matters worse, with people taking calls and checking emails outside of work.
Stress can actually appear on your body in ways you wouldn’t have thought.
“Periods of stress use up most nutrients more quickly as our whole systems including energy, brain responses, hormones and immunity are all working at a higher and faster rate,” she said.
“So some symptoms associated with different vitamin or mineral deficiencies associated with long periods of stress can show up and alert us to possible deeper long-term effects of chronic stress.
“Food sources can help replace used nutrients, but also, reducing sugar and stress means our diets are naturally more nutrient dense and we spare our resources for when we most need them.”
Apart from doing what you enjoy, like reading a book or watching TV, taking vitamin supplements and eating the right foods can also bring down your stress levels.
Here’s seven surprising signs you’re suffering from stress.
- Cracked lips
You might just think it is because of the recent cold weather, but ti could be stress.
Those unpleasant little sores we can get at the corners of the lips are a sure sign that vitamin B status is low and particularly B6.
B vitamins are important for the health of the nervous system and are needed to get energy from the carbohydrates, fats and proteins that we eat, so we use them up during the energy-rich stress response.
B6 is involved in the production of the neurotransmitters (brain chemicals) serotonin and dopamine that regulate mood and motivation and also melatonin, that governs sleep, so we also see these suffer when stress is prolonged.
Good food sources include carrots, chicken, eggs, fish, meat, peas, spinach, sunflower seeds, walnuts, avocados, bananas, beans, broccoli, brown rice, whole grains, cabbage, corn and potatoes.
- Jaw grinding
Grinding your jaw is another sign you are lacking vitamin B.
Vitamin B5 is often referred to as the anti-stress vitamin, as it helps with the production of adrenal hormones, cholesterol and immune antibodies, all of which have a higher turnover during the stress response.
This cholesterol production is not all “bad”, we need it to produce new cells and the steroid hormones like cortisol that are part of the stress response.
Long-term stress often shows up as jaw clamping and teeth grinding, partly as tensing muscles around the face increases brain alertness, which the body senses it needs to deal with danger, but it is also associated with lowered levels of B5.
This vitamin is also needed for production of the memory neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which also calms us down after stress has past.
Good foods for vitamin B5 include beef, eggs, fresh vegetables, kidney, legumes, liver, mushrooms, nuts, saltwater fish, whole rye flour.
- White spots on nails
Although white spots on the nails are often assumed to be a calcium deficiency, it is actually another mineral loss they are indicating.
The mineral zinc is very important for many of the enzyme systems in the body, for immunity and for the production of hormones, including insulin and sex hormones.
It is the most abundantly used mineral in the body and allows energy production, but also all healing and replication, like fertility and sexual health, rely on good levels.
It is easily used up by stress and we can often chart a stressful period from where white spots appear grown from the nail bed.
If you are lacking zinc you should eat fish, meat, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, nuts, oysters and other shellfish, crab, rye flour, cheddar cheese.
- Alternating constipation and diarrhea
Your bowel movements can tell you a lot about your health.
Magnesium is an essential mineral with about 70 per cent in our bones and the remaining 30 per cent in the soft tissues and body fluids.
We use up massive amounts in the stress response and when we eat sugar.
Our ability to calm muscles and brain after stress rely on this calming mineral and you can see a vicious cycle can be set up when stress depletes it and our coping capacity is diminished.
Low levels are associated with classic stress-related symptoms like anxiety, irritability, insomnia, depression and muscle pains.
As the muscles of the digestive tract also rely on magnesium for calming and we feel stress keenly in the enteric nervous system in the gut.
Low levels often manifest there and we can tend to experience constipation or diarrhoea.
Often these can alternate as the body struggles to find normal.
If you are experiencing this try eating buckwheat, nuts, soybeans, dark green vegetables, carrots, peas, sweet potato, sunflower and sesame seeds, lentils, avocado, cauliflower, fish, meat.
- Bleeding gums
Noticed your gums are more sensitive and bleeding lately?
You might need vitamin C.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant and needed for at least 300 metabolic functions in the body.
It aids in the production of anti-stress hormones, immune proteins and is needed for the production of collagen, from which we make all body tissues.
This is why the classic vitamin C full-on deficiency, scurvy, involves haemorrhaging – body tissues are unable to be replenished and break down.
A very mild form of this can be seen in easy bruising and bleeding gums when brushing teeth, signs we are probably using up vitamin C very quickly in the stress response.
Other signs of deficiency include susceptibility to infection and colds and difficulty recovering from illness.
It is depleted by smoking, alcohol, analgesics, oral contraceptives, steroids and with antidepressant use.
Good food sources include berries, citrus fruits, green vegetables, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, kale, mangos, onions, papayas, green peas, pineapple, radishes, spinach, strawberries, tomatoes and watercress.
- Hard pimples on your arms and thighs
If you’ve spotted these you could be lacking vitamin E.
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that protects fatty body areas and is needed for fertility.
Low levels of vitamin E and also omega oils can be seen as hardened, raised pimples at the tops of arms and legs that show abnormal skin growth called follicular keratosis, where too much of the skin protein keratin builds up.
Vitamin E may also help with improved circulation, the promotion of normal blood clotting, scarring, blood pressure and enhanced sperm production.
Try eating cold-pressed vegetable oils, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, brown rice, eggs, kelp, milk, oatmeal, organ meats, soybeans, sweet potatoes and watercress.
- Frequent throat or chest infections
You might want to up your vitamin A.
Vitamin A is essential for night vision and the health and resiliency against infection of the outer skin and the mucous membranes that line the respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts.
When you have trouble shifting colds and they commonly move to the chest and throat, increasing levels through plenty of greens and high-quality organic meat can help, in a stew helps deliver the nutrients efficiently and hydrate tissues at the same time.
Sufficient supply of zinc is needed to mobilise and release stores of vitamin A.
Good foods to eat include animal livers, fish liver oils and green, red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.
Foods that contain significant amounts include apricots, asparagus, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, papayas, peaches, pumpkin, red peppers, spinach, watercress and yellow squash.