How to fight against stress?

Stress: here is a word that we hear and use everyday in our contemporary societies. Indeed, the latter seems to take an increasingly important place in the lives of modern citizens . This issue is particularly highlighted today, in a new world advocating performance and productivity foolproof.

What is stress ? What are the causes and the consequences? How to fight it effectively? We make the point in this article on this growing social phenomenon!

What is stress? 

According to US statistics, nearly 80% of medical consultations would be directly , or indirectly , related to stress. This observation is huge! It testifies to the reality and the growing importance of this problem in the field of public health .

For many people, the definition of stress is not clear . Assimilated , by most , to a sense of unease confused, whose intensity varies according to the situation, stress is in fact a process of a biological reaction accurate. So, what is stress?

Stress is a natural reaction of our body to maintain its inner balance in the face of a demand that is made to it . It is, in a way, a means used by our body to defend itself psychically and physically from what it perceives as an external aggression.

Feeling stress is only possible through three elements: the source, the reaction and the attitude . The source is the agent that will trigger the stress. Physical, mental, social or emotional, it represents the external factor that attacks the body. The reaction is the triggering of stress by our brain to counter the source. Finally, the attitude is the perception we have of the source. The latter will influence the intensity of the stress.

The mechanisms of stress, initially called the general syndrome of adaptation, were mainly studied by a Canadian endocrinologist named Hans Selye . The latter is a pioneer of work on stress during the first half of the twentieth century. He is also at the origin of the term in French.

According to Hans Selye, stress is a set of physiological and psychological means implemented by a person to adapt to a given event . This is a reaction , non-specific body , to maintain a state of balance called homeostasis experiencing demand.

Hans Selye also highlights different phases in the stress process: alarm, resistance and exhaustion . The alarm phase is when the organization mobilizes its resources to counter the disruption. The resistance phase is when the organization uses the resources mobilized. Finally, the phase of exhaustion is that which corresponds to the decline in the use of resources. It is the latter that results in various somatic disorders.

Since the 1960s, multiple studies have been conducted on stress and its functioning. It should be noted, however, that even today, researchers do not master all aspects of stress !

Stressed? Say goodbye to the benefits of healthy eating

We all know it: a healthy and balanced diet is essential to take care of our body and stay healthy. What we did not know, however, is that stress can disrupt things.

This is what American researchers have discovered. Their study, published in the Molecular Psychiatry, demonstrates that stress can completely negate the beneficial effects of a healthy diet!

Back on this study and, above all, on several ways to prevent stress from seizing you and playing with your health.

It’s proven: stress has a negative effect on diet

The study was conducted for 2 days with 58 women aged 53 years on average. Of these, 20 were in perfect health and 38 were in remission of breast cancer.

A study conducted around breakfast

The experiment aimed to record the reaction of their organism after a meal. For this, the participants, divided into two groups, were asked to eat the breakfast they were offered. The first group received a breakfast based on saturated fats, considered as bad for health. The second group, meanwhile, was treated to a healthy and balanced breakfast made from sunflower oil.

The researchers also had extensive discussions with each woman to assess their level of stress, particularly related to events experienced in the day before breakfast. Finally, several blood samples were taken from each woman during the study.

The researchers then looked at the inflammation rate in each participant’s blood. Inflammation can be caused by both poor nutrition and stress. And it is far from harmless: it can indeed lead to several health problems, such as diabetes or heart disease!

Results without appeal

If researchers expected to see a higher rate of inflammation in women who ate a breakfast that was bad for their health, that was not the case.

As expected, all women who ate an unhealthy breakfast had high levels of inflammation in their blood regardless of their level of stress. But such a high rate was noted in stressed women who ate a balanced breakfast made from sunflower oil, an oil that is known for its anti-inflammatory properties!

In the end, therefore, only unstressed women who ate a balanced breakfast escaped with a low rate of inflammation.

For researchers, the results are clear: the benefits of a balanced diet have been offset by stress .

To improve nothing, we also know that when we are stressed, we tend to turn to a very unhealthy diet. Between the countless cups of coffee, the cookie packets and the prepared meals of the supermarkets, we quickly get into a vicious cycle in which stress is king: stress makes us make poor food choices , and these choices help to feed us. our stress.

How to adopt a better nutrition? The basics :

What to consume? What to avoid How many meals a day, how many grams, how many servings?

There is a lot to learn about nutrition, and it’s a topic that can not be covered by a single article. We can share the basics to help you take the initiative and adopt better habits right away.

Know that to be in shape, you must be as attentive on the physical training as on what you eat: a quality diet is decisive for your transformation. Here are our recommendations:

A global influence

The food you consume will completely influence how your body develops, as does the way it works. But also, from a more general point of view, your ability to be fit and to have vitality. Many people complain about “being flat”, being “flat” … The problem is that they point the wrong reasons and justify themselves by accusing their busy lifestyle of their demanding jobs and outings where they allow themselves all sorts of excesses and follies. But what about the dozen meals a month at fast food, cakes and other sweets consumed in large quantities, not to mention the breakfasts too light, even skipped? Does not all this have something to do with this state of affairs?

Take a talking image: compare your body to an engine. To work, a body needs gasoline. And gasoline of good quality, rich enough and qualitative for everything to work and activate. This essence is food . And in the same way that you adapt the quality of the fuel for your car according to its engine, you must adapt your power supply according to your activity, your pace of life and your training.

Of course, do not go to the opposite extreme by becoming a perfectionist, obsessive about food. You have the right (and even the duty) to make you happy too, including a “cheat day” every month (cheat day in which you can do an excess).

People obsessed with food, those who set themselves extreme health rules, do not focus enough on what matters and lose considerable time and energy trying to control every aspect of their consumption. They do not realize that they are at the mercy of trends and marketing campaigns of eco and bio lobbies.

Better eating REALLY

The irony in all this is that these individuals do not necessarily feed properly. Why ? Because eating well is eating well : eating properly is above all eating smart. In practice, what does it mean? Simply to consume quantities adapted to your activity rate and energy expenditure. Because yes, it’s stupid to say, but if there is one advice from your mom to remember, it is that “must eat everything.”

And for good reason, each nutrient has a very specific role, even those that tend to be demonized, such as carbohydrates or lipids (the famous fat). Food is a game of balance where everyone has an important role to play:

  • Proteins, for the repair and growth of muscle tissue, but also for your good general vitality (hair, nails, skin, etc.)
  • The carbohydrates, for the energy, the good functioning of the body, but also so that this one can assimilate and to use itself wisely (to rebuild of the muscle) proteins. Of course, choose low-glycemic index carbohydrates (cereals, whole pasta, wholegrain rice, lentils, etc.) which, in order to make a schematic, will be more likely to be used as energy rather than fat.
  • Lipids, yet pointed, to carry the vitamins in your body, for the health of your cells, for your hormonal balance and for your energy level. Here, it is a question of choosing those which are healthy, the famous “good fats” which are these lipids with fatty acids poly and monounsaturated (fish, avocados, almonds, olive oil, rapeseed …).

That being said, you must then ask yourself how to adapt your diet to your physical development goals . Here are some guidelines to follow, depending on the objectives you may have to fix.

You want to gain mass? So do this:

Increase your intake of lean protein (white meats, fish, etc.) to have about 30 grams of protein to digest every 3 hours to keep your muscles growing;

Increase your low glycemic index carbohydrate intake to get enough juice during your workouts and your body to have the fuel to build muscle mass;

Do not neglect the good lipids, essential for your health .

And for those who want to lose fat  ?

Be careful to limit your intake of carbohydrates, even cutting them beyond 16 hours to prevent them from being stored. Except, of course, if you train in the evening.

It will then be necessary to ensure a small carbohydrate intake before training in order to have the energy to give you full body, but also to give your body the essence it needs to start the process. burning fat (by the way, notice how counterintuitive, but nevertheless imperative, to take a little sugar to burn fat …);

Remember to sleep well of course, because it has an impact on your hunger. Indeed, several studies on panels of several hundred people indicated that those who slept the least saw an increase in their rate of ghrelin (a hormone that stimulates hunger) and a decrease in their level of leptin (a hormone that causes the opposite effect, namely to give the body an impression of satiety).

Tips for living in good health

“For your health, eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day”, “For your health, eat less fat and less salty”, “For your health avoid alcohol abuse”: for those who watch TV, you are subjected daily to these redundant and unnecessary advertising messages. No one will say to themselves when they hear that “Yes, they are right, I’m going to do a little jogging! “In addition, these messages are far too simplistic and incomplete, note the irony when they dare to put” Eat less fat and less salty “at the end of an advertisement for McDo’s new burger, it always makes me laugh!

Here are 6 REAL tips to keep you fit and healthy for as long as you can, tips that you will NEVER see on TV.

1) Follow the basic nutritional advice

The most important thing is to follow the dietary recommendations that I outlined in my previous article ”  What can (still) eat today? ”

Here is a brief reminder:

  • Do not go to fast food: it’s not new, it’s the worst thing to do. See the Americans …
  • Stop food stuffed with dyes, preservatives, full of “E”: chips, Curly, sodas, syrup …
  • Ban foods with high glycemic index: classic baguette, white pasta, white rice, refined sugar …
  • Eat low GI foods: vegetables, legumes, oilseeds …
  • Avoid gluten, lactose and casein: pasta, bread, cakes, wheat flour, animal milks, cheese, butter, margarine, yogurt, cottage cheese … All these foods promote intestinal permeability, contributing to the development of an impressive number diseases: from schizophrenia to osteoarthritis, through rheumatoid arthritis, … in short, all kinds of pathologies.
  • Eat fruits and vegetables at every meal: take them organic because some are highly processed in conventional agriculture. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants etc … Vary, all are good for health. To quote a well-known slogan: “Eat all! “
  • Limit consumption of red meat and large fish: Red meat contains antibiotics, toxins, many saturated fats. If you take it, it is essential to take it bio (because chemicals love to store in fat). For fish, avoid those at the top of the food chain (so the bigger ones) because they have a high concentration of heavy metals. You can eat white meat several times a week but prefer organic.
  • Eat organic eggs: very good for health, consume them without hesitation!
  • Optimize your intake of Omega-3: olive oil, rapeseed, flax, oily fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel …). All these foods are good for the heart, the memory, the mood. Omega-3s even help with weight loss!

2) Avoid bisphenol A

Bisphenol A or BPA is a chemical compound used in combination with other elements in the constitution of plastics and epoxy resins. It is found everywhere: in plastic containers, the coating of metal cans (including cans), hard plastic water bottles (found in companies, in waiting rooms …), receipts and until recently he was still found in baby bottles. Bisphenol A is very toxic and unfortunately it penetrates very easily into the body.

Many studies have proved its harmfulness: it weakens tooth enamel, is probably responsible for many cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, it acts on the brain, on the reproductive function (it is an endocrine disruptor). I advise you to take a look at the Wikipedia article, the list of risks is very long.