We’ve covered off a few of the stresses our body faces from eating the wrong foods or not enough food (see blog part 1 and blog part 2 to review), today we will continue with the last of our tips involving the fuels we put into our body.
Stress #4: Too Much Coffee.
While some people think of coffee like the kick start to their morning — the thing that keeps them awake or wakes them up. I think of coffee as a false start. In an ideal world, our body should make the appropriate amount of cortisol to wake us gently out of slumber each morning with an ample amount of energy to push us through the day.
When we ingest coffee in the morning, it boosts our body quickly out of the cortisol state and into overdrive (also known as the adrenaline state). Adrenaline is great if we need to run from a bear, or sprint to catch the bus, but running in 5th gear all day puts more stress on the system then is needed. Think about driving a car and always driving 100 mph and then slamming on the brakes. Not only will you wear out the brakes, you also rapidly expend gas, and create a radical level of wear and tear on your car.
Starting your body off fleeing all day is like putting the wrong foot forward. In a study done by Papadelis et al, the group measured the impact of coffee on adrenaline, stress on adrenaline as well as coffee and stress on adrenaline. They found that once the body hit its peak adrenaline push, that further stress didn’t further advance adrenaline. What that means, is that by drinking a coffee first thing in the morning you have already primed your body with stress before the first interaction of the day.
Pushing your body into a stressful state from early in the morning to late in the evening is like the car wearing out the gears unnecessarily. As an aside, those who drink coffee in the morning only had a maximum of 1 hour of peak performance after caffeinating before decreasing its impact.
Try switching out your morning coffee to a herbal coffee smelling substitute such as Dandy Blend, or try replacing with a Green Tea. Green tea has been shown to improve concentration, stimulate metabolism and clear toxicity – gain the benefits of coffee without pushing the body into an adrenaline state.
Stress #5: Bad Hydration, AKA Too Little Water.
We’ve all seen a movie where someone is trapped in a hot desert and starts to hallucinate seeing pools of water or other mirages. The hero(ine) is in a situation where their level of dehydration is affecting their mind and ultimately the ability of their body to perform under the stress of little water in the system.
While we may not encounter our own desert each day, having low levels of hydration in addition to being fatiguing for ourselves and on our body, affects our ability of our body to function from digestion to blood flowing to the neurotransmitters functioning in our brain. Brain fog is a real thing, and can happen simply from not having a enough water flowing in the body.
Hydrating our body, relieves it of any stress from not having enough fluid to sweat, urinate and clear toxins from the body. Our urine when it is yellow in colour is filled with toxins that we need to excrete from the body. Our goal of hydration each day should be to get our urine to a state of clear colour. This means we have an adequate amount of hydration to clear all the toxins out of our body – reducing the stress of storing and isolating these in the body.
How much water is enough? Start with your weight in pounds and divide it by 2. This is the baseline number of fluid ounces of water that one should drink daily. Our 150lb person should take in about 75 fluid ounces or 2.2 litres of water. With increased activity (thinking, exercising, or stress) and additional 0.1 fluid ounces x weight in pounds should be added. With 2 hours of exercise and 2 hours of class our 150lb person should have an extra (150lbs x 0.1 ounces = 15 ounces x 4 hours) 60 ounces. Total for this person for this day would be about 145 ounces or 4.2 litres of water.
You may need more or need a little less, but making sure you have enough water will certainly reduce unnecessary stress and strain on the body.
Watch for our next blog as our ten tips to reduce stress continues.
Note: This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed health care worker.
Maughan, R. J., Shirreffs, S. M., & Watson, P. (2007). Exercise, heat, hydration and the brain. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 26(sup5), 604S-612
Papadelis, C., Kourtidou-Papadeli, C., Vlachogiannis, E., Skepastianos, P., Bamidis, P., Maglaveras, N., & Pappas, K. (2003). Effects of mental workload and caffeine on catecholamines and blood pressure compared to performance variations. Brain and cognition, 51(1), 143-154.