How Stress Affects Brain Function

As a so-called intelligent species you’d think we’d have better control over our wandering thoughts and tendency to stress about future events or everyday life. I think we can learn a lot from our animal cousins and try to take life as it comes. Easier said than done! I know all too well. It may help to bear in mind the effect that stress has on the brain:

It compromises the blood-brain barrier, which overstimulates neurons and actually kills brain cells

We develop less ability to form new brain connections

We find it more difficult to store new memories

 

Our immune system can be compromised by chronic stress too. Symptoms of this are fever, fatigue lack of energy, reduced or increased appetite. The stress hormone cortisol plays a part in weakening our immune system too.

 

How to beat stress naturally:

Progressive muscle relaxation

Meditation

Social support

Regular exercise

Natural, cleansing diet

 

Some excellent cleansing foods are root vegetables, sea vegetables, nuts, leafy greens like kale, spinach, spring cabbage and cavolo nero. Apples, pears and mixed berries are also great cleansers being packed with antioxidants. Eat avocados and bananas too. These potassium rich fruits help the brain to produce more serotonin (your happy hormone) and the essential fats from the avocado will provide the brain with what it needs to build new brain cells.

Stimulants like sugar, artificial sweeteners and caffeine also raise our stress levels….get in the zone with some camomile or chai instead.

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