Natural Remedies for Stress

stress

A young lady struggling with daily worry, feelings of being overwhelmed, insomnia and chronic fatigue comes to the clinic to find solutions. She quit her job as her ability to focus and complete tasks had become exhausting. Her food choices have been poor, extreme fatigue keeps her from working out and her sleep is disrupted. She has been to multiple specialists and has tried a number of different mood medications to help her feel better. Her stress level has been high for a while, stemming from being a single parent, financial crisis, weight issues, diffuse pain, recurrent infections and irritable bowel syndrome. She is on a downward spiral and this has affected her daily life and relationships.

’21st Century stress’ can force us into a life of multi-tasking, chronic stress, technology, lack of time, information overload accompanied with poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle and over-indulgence of other substances like coffee, sugar, salt, trans fats, hydrogenated oils, processed foods, drugs and alcohol. This chronic toxic stress and poor lifestyle leads to inflammation spreading like wildfire, setting the entire body ablaze, leading to eventual destruction and disease.

How Do We Regain Control of Our Health?

The ESSENTIAL pillars of health include a plant based, whole food, nutrient-dense diet, regular exercise, good sleep, spirituality, cultivating gratitude and resiliency through mind-body exercises, social connection and self-care.
Slowing down, finding balance and learning the nutrition hacks to creating resiliency is the key. 
A well-balanced diet is one that includes all the colors of the rainbow. Your cells need A, B, C, D, E, K Vitamins, minerals like Chromium, Zinc, Selenium, Magnesium, Iron, amino acids, good fats, fiber, fermented foods, herbs and spices. Think of nutrients as powerful weapons against stress, each color with its own unique super powers. They help your cells function normally and protect the cells from toxins, pollution, infections that cause oxidative damage. These nutrient-rich foods act as chemical signals which help optimize the cell’s anti-oxidant function, energy production and health.
The Standard American Diet provides empty calories, refined and processed chemicals, salt, bad fats and high sugar foods. They are lacking all the nutrients a cell needs to prevent aging, disease, damage and death. Instead, unhealthy food sends the wrong signals to cells, breaking down the cell’s mitochondria, cell membrane, DNA, protein and energy synthesis, cellular function, and eventually makes the whole body sick.
Food also has a tremendous power to heal. There are herbs, roots and mushrooms that can be added to support the adrenals and help us through a stressful event. The best way to receive benefits from these foods is through dried herbs or teas. Some clinical studies have looked at how adaptogens support vitality, immunity and longevity.
WIRED?
  1. Ashwagandha,Withania somnifera- (Indian Ginseng) ‘Fried’ or ‘reaching your limit’?  This herb has shown to help balance stress. It can lower inflammation (CRP), dampen anxiety (noradrenaline and cortisol ),  support memory and sleep. It helps down regulate the fight or flight, upregulate the parasympathetic system (acts like GABA and increases acetylcholine). It comes from the nightshade vegetable family (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, okra). Helpful with sleep.
  2. Holy Basil– (Tulsi) – acts as a mild relaxant, it’s leaves can be used to help people who are nervous and have frequent colds. It can support the liver and immune system. Easy to grow in your backyard, leaves can be used as tea.
TIRED?
  1. Asian Ginseng (Panax)- used for vitality, stamina, mental & physical performance.
  2. Siberian Ginseng(Eleutherococcus senticosus)- supports longevity, fatigue, muscle pain and immunity. Studies show increased endurance and mental performance in patients with mild fatigue and weakness.
BRAIN FOG?
  1. Bacopa- cognitive enhancer that preserves acetylcholine (supported by Vitamin B1, B5) that helps with memory, focus, recent recall by reducing the stress response.
  2. Rhodiola– helps with fatigue, exhaustion & inflammation. Studies show improved attention, cognitive function and mental performance in fatigue and in chronic fatigue syndrome.
SICK?
  1. Astralagus– “Qi” tonic supporting stamina and resistance to disease. Boost immune function and decrease inflammation. Has a role in the mitochondrial function in muscle cells.
The best way to receive nutrition is through the food choices you make. If you choose to take a supplement, always consult with your doctor to verify any drug interactions or harmful effects from the product. Just as you would not take a prescription that has not been clinically tested and evaluated by regulatory agencies for safety and efficacy, similarly you would not want to take a vitamin or supplement that is based on testimonials, uncertain ingredients, marketing promises or false labeling.
Food is Medicine, Energy, Information, Connection.  Making the right decisions with food may seem like a difficult path to follow. Start where you are, make small changes, announce your decision to others, remind yourself of ‘why’ you need to take back control of your health. Let us guide you on your journey to wellness!
‘A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step’- Lao Tzu.
  • Panossian A1, Wikman G.: Evidence-based efficacy of adaptogens in fatigue, and molecular mechanisms related to their stress-protective activity. Curr Clin Pharmacol. 2009 Sep;4(3):198-219. Epub 2009 Sep 1.
  • Alexander Panossian* and Georg Wikman: Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity.Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010 Jan; 3(1): 188-224.
  • Pooja, A. S. Bawa and Farhath Khanum, Anti-inflammatory activity of Rhodiola rosea – “a second-generation adaptogen”, Phytotherapy Research, 23, 8, (1099-1102), (2009).
  • S.K. Kulkarni and Ashish Dhir, Withania somnifera: An Indian ginseng, Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry, 32, 5, (1093)
  • V. Gupta, S. Saggu, R.K. Tulsawani, R.C. Sawhney and R. Kumar, A dose dependent adaptogenic and safety evaluation of Rhodiola imbricata Edgew, a high altitude rhizome, Food and Chemical Toxicology, 46, 5, (1645)
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The light in me, bows to the light in you~ Namaste
Dr. Patel was named one of the TOP DOCS in Phoenix Magazine 2009, 2016, Healthcare Provider of the Year 2017 by the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce and Internist of the Year 2011 by the American College of Physicians Arizona Chapter. She is uniquely trained, board-certified and practices both Pediatrics and Internal Medicine in Fountain Hills, Arizona. She is additionally fellowship trained and board certified in Integrative Medicine.
She has a passion for teaching medicine and acts as a preceptor for both medical residents and providers in training. Dr. Patel has a special interest in Integrative Medicine, Women’s health, Pediatric & Adolescent care, Nutrition and Medical Cosmetics.

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