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Stress & Women’s Health – Part 4 of 5 of our Women’s Health Series

Stress & Women's Health - Part 4 of 5 of our Women's Health Series

How Stress Affects Women’s Health

Stress is one of the major culprits for hormonal issues women face. Our body responds to all types of stress in the same way, by pumping out cortisol from our adrenal glands. While historically this was just what we needed to run from a predator, we get the same response in our body whether we are facing a deadline, running a marathon, worrying about finances or not sleeping enough. All of these cause the same “stress”.

Cortisol is naturally secreted in varying amounts at different times of the day. However, long-term stress causes chronically elevated cortisol, which eventually gets depleted and leads to an inability of our body to fight stress. Many hormone systems are affected in the process, leading to: blood sugar imbalance, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep issues, fatigue, mood changes, weight gain, menstrual irregularities/infertility, poor immune system, and decreases thyroid function. Basically, all hormone systems are affected by poorly controlled cortisol.

Are you taking these supplements?

Ashwagandha supports the adrenal glands in combating stress, and supports healthy thyroid function.

B-Vitamins, especially B5 & B6 help regulate cortisol, increase GABA, serotonin and dopamine, improving sleep and mood.

Vitamin C is required for the formation of adrenal hormones including cortisol.

Magnesium helps relax our muscles, is important for energy production and for healthy adrenal function.

How’s your diet?

Pumpkin seeds are rich in magnesium and zinc, both of which are important for healthy immune function during periods of stress.

Avocados are high in potassium, an extremely important mineral that is quickly depleted during times of stress.

Green tea, especially matcha green tea, contains L-Theanine, a compound shown to increase relaxation while still keeping us alert.

How do you relax?

Investing in yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises is a great way to decrease stress and promote relaxation, both mentally and physically.

If you are suffering from hormonal issues, speak to your naturopathic doctor today to learn how your stress may be the root cause.

Stay tuned next week for tips on combating PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) !

Dr. Nadia Saleem, ND

Click Here to Read Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3 of our Women’s Health Series.

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