Stress happens to everyone. There is no getting away from it. And while a certain amount of stress can actually be good for you, there is a fine line between healthy stress and chronic stress. Chronic stress is what happens when your body and mind go into overdrive in their efforts to fend off a perceived threat, and can often walk hand-in-hand with anxiety. Chronic stress and anxiety can result in inflammation, a compromised immune system, insomnia and digestive problems.
When we feel under mental strain, we find ourselves asking: Should I be taking supplements to help with my anxiety? Which vitamins can help to reduce stress? What is the best diet to improve my mood? What else can I do to feel better?
There are a number of things you can do to lower your stress levels. Vitamins can help, but so can diet, movement and making lifestyle changes. We have put together a comprehensive guide to the best vitamins and supplements for reducing stress, the most effective exercises to beat anxiety, and the right foods to incorporate into a mood-friendly diet.
Exercise releases endorphins into the body. These chemicals contribute to improved mood and digestion, better sleep and improved self-esteem. Exercise also helps you cope better with stress by improving, what scientists call, ‘emotional resilience’. Studies have shown that regular exercise can lead to beneficial and long-lasting structural changes in the brain.
It is recommended that healthy adults get 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. Even a brisk walk can count towards your total. You should try to integrate some form of movement into your routine every day if you want to reap its mood-boosting rewards. Regular exercise can help to regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation in the body and can support a strong and healthy immune system.
Yoga is also a great way to mitigate anxiety and to get grounded and present in the moment. Just half an hour on your mat and you’ll feel a million times better. Yoga helps to regulate the nervous system, to curb cortisol production, and to balance hormones, making it particularly useful if you tend to suffer from stress at certain points in your cycle.
Knowing which adaptogens to take can be a game-changer when it comes to fighting and reducing stress and anxiety. The most effective adaptogen for improving stress response is ashwaganda, specifically in the form of full spectrum root extract KSM-66®.
Ashwaganda KSM-66® has been clinically proven to increase resistance to stress and anxiety, improve sleep, regulate cortisol levels and reduce food cravings. In one research study, participants who supplemented with Ashwagandha KSM-66®, as formulated at 600mg in LYMA, were less likely to succumb to adrenal fatigue or burnout when compared with a control group. Furthermore, 88% of people who took ashwagandha reported a significant drop in their anxiety levels, compared with 50% in the placebo group.
Several randomized studies have concluded that KSM-66® is the most effective form of ashwaganda for human consumption.
If you’re looking to try something a little bit different, aromatherapy might be a fun place to start. Smell is an oft-underrated sense, and we can utilise it here to bring down our stress levels and reduce anxiety. The olfactory nerve is responsible for communication between the nose and the parts of the brain responsible for emotions and mood. The nerve is also heavily implicated in regulating your parasympathetic nervous system - the system responsible for maintaining a healthy heart rate and keeping your digestive system functioning well.
When the olfactory nerve is overstimulated this leads to information overload in your limbic system and brain which, when left unchecked, can cause you to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Some scents, however, calm the olfactory nerve to such a degree that it temporarily ceases sending signals to the brain, giving your amygdala (the part of the brain that governs emotions) a chance to breathe.
If it’s stress-relief you’re after, you’ll want to get your hands on one or more of these essential oils: Ylang Ylang, jasmine, lavender, holy basil, frankincense or palo santo.
4. Herbal teas
Taking the time out of your day to mindfully brew and sip a hot mug of tea can feel like therapy in itself. Add to this the natural goodness found in tea leaves from chamomile and peppermint, and lavender and passionflower, and you’ve got yourself a winning stress-busting formula.
Both black and green tea are super high in antioxidants, and habitual drinking of either variety has been associated with an overall reduction in cortisol levels, as well as improved focus and stamina.
So many of your favourite teas contain compounds that can reduce stress and alleviate anxiety. Other great options, in addition to those mentioned above, are ginseng, turmeric, lemon balm and peppermint.
5. Feel good foods
We know how important what we eat is for our physical health , but did you know that it can have a profound impact on your mental health too? A diet high in processed foods, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol will leave your body, and thus your mind, overtaxed and stressed out as it battles to work out what on earth you keep feeding it.
Nutritionists believe that if we were to clean up our diets, up to 90% of people currently on antidepressants would no longer require them.
A diet rich in unprocessed and natural wholegrains, plants, herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds is best for your brain.
Specific mood-boosting foods to load up on include: healthy fats such as olive and flax oils to feed the brain, complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and brown rice to boost serotonin production and support a healthy gut, anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger and micronutrient-loaded veggies - aim to eat a rainbow of vegetables every day.
When in doubt, adhere to these basic principles: eat only the food your great-grandmother would recognise as being edible, eat mindfully and only when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.
6. Vitamins and supplements
Vitamins and supplements - the holy grail when it comes to managing stress and anxiety. If you’re supplementing smartly, that is.
LYMA is not a vitamin pill; LYMA is the ultimate supplement. LYMA uses the very best ingredients, and the best delivery systems, to support you to feel more like yourself. LYMA’s eight patented ingredients are scientifically backed and provide the perfect relief from everyday stresses and strains.
So how can LYMA help you become more resilient to stress? Whilst the individual ingredients contained in each dose would work wonders to support you through any challenging circumstance in which you might find yourself, it’s the combination of ingredients that renders LYMA’s formula unrivalled. Let’s take a look at the ways some of the individual components can help you in times of stress:
HydroCurc™ is the most bioavailable and effective form of curcumin on the market. Curcumin is the potent antiinflammatory compound present in turmeric. However, when ingested in its natural form, the body is hardly able to absorb any curcumin at all and so you must turn to a supplement to see its benefits for your mood and immune system. HydroCurc™ is formulated at a daily dose of 250mg in LYMA.
We have already mentioned KSM-66® Ashwaganda which, as formulated in LYMA, has been backed by peer-reviewed studies for its uncanny ability to improve resilience to stress and anxiety, stabilise cortisol levels in the blood and aid a peaceful night’s sleep.
Finally, Wellmune™ contains beta glucans that provide the body with the key to enhancing its immune response, resulting in improved overall health and resistance to illness during times of stress.
LYMA is crafted without compromise and its unrivalled formula will support the improvement of your stress response, beyond what can be achieved by cleaning up your diet, upping your exercise, or making lifestyle changes alone. Aromatherapy, yoga and eating the rainbow can and will work wonders for your wellbeing, but only by supplementing smartly will you discover optimal performance. You deserve to feel your best.
Originally published Aug 28, 2020.