Let’s examine a few key ways stress affects the body (and your nutrition).
- Our bodies have two modes of operation: the parasympathetic (relaxed) nervous system and the sympathetic (stress, fight or flight response) nervous system.
- Under the stress response (sympathetic nervous system) the body works on preparing for and fighting a life threatening stressor. This causes our body to re-direct energy from normal priorities (digestion, reproduction, vitality) to stress priorities (survival by any means). These changes include: turning proper digestion off, increasing heart rate, & dilating the bronchial tubes. For a visual representation please click here to watch a really short video (2 minute YouTube video, I promise)!
Our bodies are equipped to deal with short-term stress (ie. running away from a predator, etc). It’s CHRONIC STRESS that our bodies are unable to sustain over the long-term; causing us to burn our bodies energy from both ends. Stress eats away at our nutrient stores, while we are unable to assimilate nutrients from food coming in.
Stress and digestion: some things to think about…
- Do you regularly eat when you are stressed? If so, how does that make you feel after a meal?
- What things in your life drive stress? What can you do lessen the occurrence or respond differently?
- What brings you joy? Are you able to increase these?
Finding ways to balance stress is a lifetime skill. For me, knowing the WHY behind its harmfulness has been a key to preventing it from eating away at my life!