Natasha Corrett, creator of nutrition company and food delivery service Honestly Healthy, on how the food we eat has an impact on our stress levels.
At the very core of Honestly Healthy comes down to one thing really – stress. We advocate alkaline food and all the elements that come together to create an alkaline lifestyle which have the power to counteract stress.
This means that we promote avoiding a few things:
Wheat and gluten – think about the dough of a bread and how thick and gloopy it is before you bake it. That is what our bodies are having to process and it is incredibly difficult for the digestive system to manage.
Cows’ Dairy: The majority of us are lactose intolerant and past the weaning age, we’re simply not designed to process the amount of dairy products that we are consuming in today’s age. Only around 35% of us are able to process lactose efficiently meaning that the rest of us are putting our stomachs through a thoroughly unnecessary level of stress.
Meat: Our bodies have to really work hard to break this down. Our gallbladders are put into overdrive and our liver has to go like the clappers. Unsurprisingly, this is hugely stressful for the body and consequently very acid forming – needless to say, this added pressure then plays a prominent role in the development of cancers and other diseases.
Refined Sugar: We really can’t stress enough how much of a poison sugar can be to our digestive system. Bacteria such as Candida are in heaven when there are large quantities of sugar available to them. Living in the warmth of the large intestine and regularly fuelled by sugary treats, Candida will thrive leaching your body of vital nutrients and causing additional strain to the body.
So why do we suggest that the above ingredients should be avoided? Well, namely because they are what we call ‘acid forming’ which can be directly related to anxiety and perhaps that feeling of ‘tension’ you get. To explain this a little further and give you a bit of the science, our bodies function at their best when our blood is at a pH level of 7.35. When we consume excessive amounts of acidic foods, this lowers our pH levels and means that we become more acidic. This can lead to bloating, poor sleep, fatigue, dry itchy skin and numerous other ailments – all of which require additional energy from the body to combat, thus causing the body to be in a state of stress – meaning your body is in a constant battle with ingredients that it struggles to break down and utilise.
Instead, if you take ingredients such as green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, seaweed, sprouts, seeds, unrefined grains, tofu, apples, lemons and watermelon you are choosing ingredients that are easily digested by the body and that provide vital nutrition (including calcium and protein) that can be easily absorbed into the blood stream to nourish you from head-to-toe. By making things easier for your digestive system you are relieving the stress on your body and allowing it to focus its energy on making you look and feel great.
There is no denying that busy lifestyles can cause anyone to have that ‘stressed’ feeling so widely used in this day and age, so it’s so important to take time to relax and calm your mind (on top of eating the right things) too.