The De-Stress Effect Glossary of Terms – S-Z

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Satisfaction

In terms of appetite, this is the point at which the appetite is sated and we feel ‘full’ as the brain receives the signal to stop hunger mechanisms.

Saturated fats

Fats that remain solid at room temperature and are mainly found in foods of animal origin; we need them for heart, brain, mood and immune regulation. Scientific understanding is now refuting their link to heart disease alone but that they may be harmful within the context of a high sugar and low omega 3 oil diet.

Serotonin

A neurotransmitter or brain chemical that regulates mood, sleep, appetite and sexual desire. Lowered by chronic stress, which can lead to sugar cravings, insomnia and poor mood regulation.

Snacking

Eating small amounts between larger designated breakfast, lunch or dinner set meals.

Social-setting exercise

Any exercise that allows you to socialize at the same time.  Examples include dancing, team sports, nature hikes and guided walks, having sex and outdoor swimming.

Soluble fibre

A type of fibre that we eat that breaks down to support digestive health and act as ‘prebiotic’ fibre to feed our beneficial gut bacteria. In lower levels in the modern diet, which may be linked to digestive and immune issues.

Spontaneous activity

Also called ‘incidental exercise’ and one of the cornerstones of De-Stress Diet lifestyle, it refers to simply moving more throughout your day.  Climbing the escalator from the Tube, getting off the bus a couple of stops early and walking the rest of the way, taking the stairs instead of the lift at work and even standing up instead of sitting when you answer the phone are all examples of spontaneous activity that can keep your metabolism topped up between more formal bouts of exercise. This form of activity stops you from being sedentary.

Stimulants

Substances that cause excitation in the nervous system, stimulating the sympathetic nervous system and stress responses.

Stone-age Diet

See Hunter-gatherer diet

Strength training

The action of putting stress on a muscle by making it carry weight (your own body’s or the machine’s). This causes the muscle fibres to react by contracting and becoming stronger and also causes an increase in the body’s metabolism so that it consumes more oxygen after the training, simply to help your system recover. This may be done on weights machines in the gym or using your own body weight in exercises such as squats, lunges and press-ups.

Stress

A reaction to a provocation, only ‘bad’ if becomes relentless and chronic with no recovery. Can be motivating and provide focus in short bursts when an end goal is clear and the person feels in control.

Stress Suit

The way our bodies respond to stress in the short-term is a primal, primitive reaction known as the ‘stress response.’  If stress is chronic, over time our bodies can react with clusters of symptoms that may express differently in different people.  One person may become exhausted while another gets hives or asthma or becomes bloated and uncomfortable.  Those clusters of stress-related symptoms have been designated as ‘Stress Suits’ in The De-Stress Diet. It’s possible to wear more than one suit and the Stress Suit you wear may change.

Sugar

The general name for sweet substances in the diet that are the simple breakdown products of more complex carbohydrates found in whole plant foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and potatoes.  As a refined substance, sugars upset blood-sugar regulation as quickly raise glucose (sugar) levels in the bloodstream. It has shown to be a highly addictive substance for human beings. Also proven to directly cause inflammation and reduce our immune response and ability to fend off bacterial and viral attack.

Sympathetic nervous system

The branch of the autonomic nervous system that causes the alert seen in the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. It is triggered by the brain for the reaction to take place by releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol from the adrenal glands. Designed as a short-term response to true physical danger where we might need to run away from or stand and fight a threat to our life. Also known as the ‘fight-flight-freeze’ response.

Thermogenesis

‘Heat-creation’ in the body as a result of exercise, cold temperatures and eating certain foods like protein, chilli and caffeine. It also predisposes the body towards production of brown fat that raises metabolism and burning fat as fuel, as opposed to white fat that tends to be stored. Modern living with central heating and aversion to cold has shown to reduce thermogenic action.

Thyroid

The gland in the throat that governs metabolism and therefore its health is vital for energy, weight management and temperature.

Traditional diets

Those from farming cultures before Industrialisation that still follow traditional methods of agriculture, cooking and preparation. Animals tend to be grass-fed, grains and beans eaten in lesser quantities and prepared in ways that break down anti-nutrients like lectins and phytic acid.

Toxic metals

Naturally occurring harmful minerals like mercury, lead and cadmium that damage cells and may add to stress-related symptoms by compromising immunity, detoxification and nervous system health.

Tryptophan

An amino acid that helps to regulate appetite and reduce sugar cravings by providing the source material for us to produce mood-enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin. Found in foods such as bananas, pumpkin seeds and turkey.

Vegetarian

Person who excludes meat and fish from their diet i.e. does not eat animal flesh, but may include animal products such as dairy, eggs and honey. May be missing optimal intake of iron, zinc, vitamin B12, iodine, omega 3 oils and saturated fats, especially if has long-term or chronic stress.

Vegan

Person who eats no produce directly or indirectly from an animal source including dairy, eggs and honey, choosing a purely plant-based diet. May be missing optimal intake of iron, zinc, vitamin B12, iodine, omega 3 oils and saturated fats, especially if has long-term or chronic stress.

Vitamin

Chemicals that are crucial for body functions and therefore health and vitality; we cannot make them in our bodies but must eat them daily in food.

Vitamin B

See B vitamins/ B-Complex vitamins

Vitamin C

A water-soluble vitamin found in vegetables and fruit that humans need in large amounts and may be lacking in the average modern diet, due to lack of these but also modern farming and distribution methods. Crucial for skin healing, immune function, heart health and as an anti-histamine and antioxidant nutrient (to name a few), it is used up quickly by the adrenal glands in the stress response.

Vitamin D

An anti-inflammatory fat-soluble nutrient, that is often more accurately termed as a hormone. It is produced naturally in th body when sunlight hits our skin and regulates the health of bone, the immune system and the heart, as well as being necessary for mood regulation. Vitamin D3 is the form we use most readily if supplemented, with the vegetarian form vitamin D2 showing to have a much lesser utilisation capacity.

Western Diet

Typical modern diet associated with inflammation and ‘diseases of civilisation’ such as heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. Higher in omega 6 oils, sugar and grains and lower in omega 3 oils, soluble fibre and antioxidants than in any previous generations, especially when compared to that of our hunter-gatherer/ Stone Age/ Paleolithic ancestors.

Yoga

An ancient spiritual practice whose aim is to achieve connection of the individual and universal consciousness’s through meditation. Many modern practices now look to move towards meditative states via sequences of yoga postures or asanas.