I don’t know about you, but this past January has been a stressful one! The number of things we deal with as a society in our daily lives can take a toll on anyone. How many of you overeat when you’re stressed? A high amount of stress can cause people to turn to food to cope, causing you to overeat. Overeating adds to your stress causing the coping mechanism to backfire. Do not deter from your goals; let’s take a look at how we can manage stress eating.
35% of Americans have reported overeating unhealthy foods because of stress. Also, eating junk foods when stressed can lead to more stress. At first you may feel more energy, but this can wear off, leading to lethargy and mood swings. Stress can weaken the immune system increasing your body’s need for certain nutrients. When you turn to healthy foods during this time, this helps to stabilize your blood sugar and relieve tension.
Foods to Avoid
When you’re stressed you may sleep less, causing you to lose focus on your daily tasks. You may turn to these foods to help you get through your day but here is why it makes things worse:
Caffeine: Supplementing sleeplessness with caffeine causes jitters and keeps you awake. Eventually, you may become dependent on it, causing further mood swings and crashing.
Sugar: It is a carbohydrate that is absorbed rapidly through the body, and just as fast as it increases your alertness, it plummets it. In turn, lowers your blood sugar, causing more mood swings amplifying cravings. More sugar consumption promotes insulin resistance and suppresses brain signals to the body. Sugar is linked to chronic inflammation, which leaves the immune system vulnerable and opens up risks for depression.
High-Fat Foods: Leave you feeling lethargic! These are not foods that contain good fats like unsaturated fats found in nuts, but saturated fats that increase your cholesterol!
What to Eat
Eating foods such that are low in fat, high fiber, with a mixture of complex carbohydrates, are recommended to combat the effects of stress. This includes plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating these help level your blood sugar, keeping you fueled and alert throughout the day. Besides, the nutrients strengthen the immune system that stress weakens. Finally, implementing functional proteins and complex carbohydrates helps to improve serotonin levels in the body. Serotonin is a signal from the brain that tells the body to relax. Regulating serotonin is essential to reduce signs of depression and anxiety.
Here are some more foods and nutrients that help you feel better:
Vitamin C: Helps lower levels of cortisol in the body, a known stress hormone. Taking this in through oranges and other citrus fruits can reduce systems of stress, including stress and anxiety.
- You can take a Vitamin C drink daily if you can’t get it through these foods! I personally use this product regularly for this reason.
Magnesium: Can be found in spinach, other leafy greens, salmon, and soybeans. Health benefits include improved sleep quality in older adults, reduction of premenopausal symptoms, headache, and fatigue avoidance.
- I actually take a Magnesium supplement before bed, and it helps me go right to sleep!
Tryptophan: A Found in organic turkey breast, pumpkin seeds, nuts, and organic eggs, your body converts it into serotonin.
- Serotonin is known to help us stay calm and sleep.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Encourage emotional well being by reducing stress hormones. They also protect against heart disease, premenstrual syndrome, and depression. Foods high in Omega 3 are salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios.
- Eating two servings of pistachios during stressful situations has been shown to reduce the load on your heart.