The De-Stress Effect Glossary of Terms – M-R

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The De-Stress Effect cover without endorsement rgbMagnesium to Root Vegetables


A mineral needed for relaxation and sleep mechanisms in the body, including serotonin and GABA production, as well as muscle control and heart health. An essential macro mineral, needed in large amounts in balance with calcium, best food sources for the two being green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish.


The practice of focus and concentration to still the brain, calm the ego and connect with the larger consciousness around us. Shown to increase brain plasticity to be able to adapt in the face of stress.


Sleep-inducing hormone produced in the brain, which may be affected by stress and low sunlight exposure.


The rate at which we burn off the food we eat as fuel to make energy in all organs and cells; a higher metabolism means we work more efficiently, a slower one can lead to weight gain and is associated with an ageing, sedentary lifestyle. Stress and yo-yo dieting have shown to reduce metabolic rate and therefore reduce weight loss efforts.

Mindful eating

Full focus on the act of eating, fully experiencing the food and its taste; with no distractions from external sources such as work or television. Shown to help weight loss by regulating appetite and satisfaction from food as increased chewing and relaxed eating enhance digestive mechanisms and send back ‘full’ signals to the brain.


The practice of being fully present, as part of a formalised meditation practice or through conscious awareness in everyday life.


Natural elemental substances found in the soil that enter the food chain; we need ‘essential’ minerals for optimal body functions and must get them from food eg magnesium, calcium, potassium, selenium, iron and zinc.

Monounsaturated fatty acids/ fats

Fats that are solid when refrigerated but oily at room temperature and are associated with the Mediterranean diet, lower heart disease risk and appetite satisfaction; as found in olive oil, walnuts and avocados.

Multivitamin and mineral supplement

Nutritional supplement that covers the basic human needs and common modern dietary shortfalls. Recommended on the 6 Week Plan of The De-Stress Diet.

Oleic acid

Type of monounsaturated fat, also known as omega 9 oil, named after olive oil where it is found in highest quantities and provides heart protective properties.

Omega 3 oils/ fatty acids

Polyunsaturated fats that help prevent and reduce inflammation and disease, necessary for strong immune and heart function. Found in direct forms as EPA and DHA in oily fish, but must be converted to these active anti-inflammatory compounds from the omega 3 oil forms found in plant sources. Modern diets tend to have lower omega 3 than 6 oils, in opposition to our optimal balance for immune, heart and brain health.

Omega 6 oils/ fatty acids

Polyunsaturated fats that although help prevent and reduce inflammation and disease, need to outweighed by dietary omega 3 oils. Higher omega 6 to 3 oil intake is common in the modern diet and associated with inflammatory and degenerative disease.


(US estrogen) a sexual hormone produced by women in the ovaries and in fat cells. Levels need to be balanced to reduce the risk of hormone sensitive cancers and declining levels after the menopause are linked with osteoporosis and depression. Raised levels are associated with PMS and conditions such as endometriosis and have shown to be caused by stress hormones, dairy, alcohol and environmental factors.

Paleo Diet

see Hunter-gatherer diet

Parasympathetic nervous system

The calming branch of the autonomic nervous system, that brings us down to a state of rest and where we can heal and restore. This is state needed for sleep quality, meditation and full digestion. It is stimulated by soothing activities and physical sensations such as massage, yoga and water immersion, as well as some foods and sensory inputs like aromatherapy.

Phase 1: Transition

See The De-Stress Diet Phase 1: Transition 

Phase 1: True Change

See The De-Stress Diet Phase 2: True Change

Phytic acid

A substance found in high levels in grains and beans that hinders absorption of minerals like iron and zinc from food.


A root vegetable that is excluded from a true hunter-gatherer diet as only entered the human diet when cooking allowed humans to digest its toxic lectins. Can provoke a high insulin response.


Type of soluble fibre from plant foods that support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines eg inulin and FOS (fructo-oligo saccharides).


Beneficial, ‘friendly’ or probiotic gut bacteria that support digestion, immunity and detoxification, as well as helping to reduce the allergies, intolerances and inflammation that can lead to degenerative and autoimmune diseases. These are shown to be reduced by chronic stress; one of the links with stress-related digestive and immune issues.


The substance that we eat, mainly from animal foods but also in plants to make body structures like skin, bone, teeth, muscle and ligaments. Dietary sources are crucial with each meal to regenerate these continually, particularly in the face of stress, which can impair healing and use up protein to make stress hormones and neurotransmitters for the responses required.

Psycho-social stress

The modern type of stress assault, coming from emotional and psychological issues like money, family and job worries, rather than the true physical danger for which the ‘fight-or-flight’ response is designed. Its relentless nature makes recovery processes difficult and it tends to focus stress up into the brain, resulting in loss of connection and intuition with the body’s needs, instead prioritising the brain’s ‘wants’.

Rational self

The part of the brain that makes decisions based on long-term rational thought and true need, not immediate want and gratification.


We like to call resilience your stress ‘muscle’.  In psychology, it’s a term which refers to a person’s ability to cope with stress and adversity. People who seem to ‘bounce back’ after stressful or traumatic events have high levels of resilience.   The good news is that with a diet that supports your energy levels and mood you can become more resilient, even if you are currently someone who tends not to cope so well with stress and adversity.  The De-Stress Diet can’t erase stress and problems from our lives but it can build up our ability to cope.

Root vegetables

Roots that need to be cooked (potatoes, tapioca, sweet potatoes, parsnips, yams) are not believed to have been introduced into the human diet in any significant quantities until farming, harvesting and cooking became common. Those we can eat raw (carrots, beetroot) are believed to be more digestible and cause less blood-sugar issues.