Some of you saw me already on my wife's post reading the Times Magazine's special edition about stress.
I'm gathering some valuable information about the importance of getting through our current situation with as little stress as possible.
What is the connection between stress & COVID-19? Our bodies are reacting to the perception of threat by becoming stressed. Stress weakens our immune system. When we're stressed, the immune system's ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections. The stress hormone corticosteroid ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corticosteroid ) can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system.
Meditation, exercise, cooking, watching movies, and being in nature have significantly lowered my stress levels. When I’m not working, reading, or watching the news for the latest information on the coronavirus, I’m trying to relax. It’s for my health!
I’m practicing social distancing and following the protocols of CDC and WHO; if you are doing the same, you too will minimize the risk of contracting the virus.
As a Nutrition and Sport Nutrition Specialist, I'm absolutely fascinated about the way the human body functions, and its capacity to protect and heal itself. I would like to explain why stress will make you susceptible not only to this virus, but also to other viruses and illnesses.
Stress begins in our brain The amygdala is the brain's emotional center. One of its roles is to detect and assess potential threats and, if need be, notify the hypothalamus, which triggers the body's fight-or-flight response. Stress mobilizes the hormone epinephrine - known as adrenaline ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adrenaline) - which floods our body's blood and initiates a number of short-lived physiological changes like: increased heart rate, sweating, decreased blood flow to the limbs, and a slowing down of the movement of food through our digestive system.
The above is the short-term effect of stress. With long-term stress, floods of adrenaline in our system will cause inflammation over time; therefore, our body releases pro-inflammatory chemicals called cytokines ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cytokine). Inflammation is the body’s response to injury and infection; in other words, swelling is the immune system's way of gearing up for battle. Constant stress will cause chronic inflammation in our body, and results in our falling ill more quickly and severely.
Constant state of stress can also contribute to serious health problems and diseases: Type II Diabetes, as our liver continually boosts blood sugar levels to give us the energy we need for the anticipated battle; high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, as the heart and circulatory system spend too much time in overdrive; emotional eating resulting in obesity (high levels of cortisol makes you crave sugary, fatty, calorie dense foods instead of nutrition dense foods which are flooded with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients).
Let’s all stay as cool and calm as we can right now—our immune systems are depending on us! Take good care of your body and mind, and go to https://www.cdc.gov/ for the latest on Covid-19.
For questions about what to eat and how to stay fit while at home, don’t hesitate to email or call.