Monthly Archives: September 2014

Stress, nutrition and your brain

This article aims to explain how stress influences your brain and eating habits.. read it slowly to better understand the science behind our brains!


It is proposed that food has three main functions:

1)   Nutrition – nutrition is essential to human survival

2)   Sensory – food satisfy the sensory needs through flavor and texture

3)   Physiological – food regulate the biorhythm, control ageing and enhance and support the immune system.

Stress causes an increase in serotonergic neuron activity in our brains. This means that more serotonin will be used during stressful times.. This is the natural way of coping with stress and preventing stress-induced depression.

Tryptophan is an amino acid that is used as a precursor for serotonin. A lack of tryptophan will cause a decrease in serotonin production.  So, the more you stress, the more serotonin is used and the quicker tryptophan levels will get depleted.

Eating a high carbohydrate, low protein meal will cause an increase in tryptophan levels. Dietary carbohydrates enhance the uptake of tryptophan into the brain, which allows a greater serotonin production. Insulin has little or no effect on the tryptophan levels HOWEVER, it lowers the plasma levels of amino acids that compete with tryptophan. Meaning it supports tryptophan to get to the brain to support higher breakdown of serotonin breakdown during stress.

The carb rich/protein poor meal causes a significant 42% increase in plasma tryptophan compared to the protein rich/carb poor meal.

Eating suppressed during stress and increased during the recovery from stress. This is due to residual cortisol levels in the blood.  Stress increases your appetite, leads to an increase in food consumption and especially an increase in sugary food intake. Therefore, the psychological response to stress influences subsequent eating behavior.

Night eating syndrome (NES) is characterized by:

1)   No appetite for breakfast

2)   50% or more daily food intake happens after 6:00pm

3)   Trouble getting to and or staying asleep

This is mainly caused by stress and a higher residual cortisol level. NES sufferers will have poor results with weight loss due to the high cortisol levels.

Nutrition can play a powerful role in stress management. Always ensure that a healthy balanced meal plan is followed. Never cut out a specific food group completely, because every little micronutrient play an important role in the functioning of our bodies! Find ways to relieve stress, especially if you are prone to anxiety. Stress relieve activities that can be consider include:

  • Writing
  • exercise such as walking, yoga or pilates
  • socializing
  • taking a warm bath after a long day…

Advantages of Breastfeeding


breastfeeding image

Breastfeeding provides optimal nutrition for your baby and also has many non-nutritional benefits for you as mom and for your baby.

It is recommended to breastfeed exclusively for 4.5 months and to breastfeed until your baby is 24months or beyond.


B BRAIN DEVELOPMENT Breastmilk contains unique protein and fats to stimulate brain development
R RETURN TO PRE-PREGNANCY WEIGHT Breastmilk production consumes calories. Together with a healthy diet, pregnancy weight can be lost very easily
E EASILY DIGESTED Breastmilk contains enzymes that aid digestion   and absorption
A ALLERGY PREVENTION Breastmilk may lower the risk for allergies such as eczema and asthma
S SAFE TO USE Breastmilk is safe to use where ever you go and whenever you need it – no sterilization required
T TEMPERATURE Breastmilk is always at the right temperature – no cooling or heating required!
F FEELING Beastfeeding makes you and your baby feel good! It also creates a great bond between you 2
E ECONOMICAL Breastmilk is free!! Yay!
E EASY Breastfeeding does not require much effort, just sit back and relax.. no scrubbing of bottles.
D DEVELOP JAW AND TEETH Breastmilk promotes teeth and jaw development which helps with speech development
I IMMUNITY Breastmilk provides immunologic protection against bugs that cause for example diarrhea
N NATURE’S CHOICE Part from the great nutritional value of breastmilk, it also contains hormones, growth factors, anibodies, leukocytes, nucleotides and cytokines that supports the overall health and development of your baby
G GROWTH Breastmilk’s composition changes as your baby’s dietary needs changes, supporting perfect growth

Speak to your dietician about breastfeeding, introduction of solids and what to do when you are a working mom!


How to control your Diabetes

Tips on controlling your diabetes

  • Eat small quantities of food more regularly
  • Combine starch with protein and fat to avoid sugar spikes
  • Always choose whole-grain products
  • Avoid baked products and refined carbohydrates such as sweets
  • Choose food from the Low GI list instead of the high GI list
  • Maintain a healthy active lifestyle with daily physical activities
  • Drink your medication as prescribed
  • Always check your blood sugar so that you know what is going on
  • Have a goal in mind (HBA1C <7%)
  • Take responsibility of your body – only you can control your sugar
  • Visit a dietician for more education and for a personalized diet