Do you ever think about the fact that, if you ate differently, you might be better able to handle the stress in your life? Do you ever wonder how stress might affect what you eat? No matter which way you look at it, stress and food are related. There are many things that you can do to help deal with your stress without resorting to food as your crutch. Food, stress, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia and chronic pain go hand in hand. It can become a vicious cycle of food and stress snowballing and leading to even more pain and exhaustion. Stress leads an increase in cortisol, which increases insulin. Your blood sugar drops making you more hungry. Not planning for the hunger or giving into cravings causes you to eat foods that are bad for your gut and trigger ghrelin, your hunger hormone. Oop!! Your hungry again and eat foods that cause stress to your body, like processed sugar, man-made fats and packaged food in general.
How Your Diet and Stress Are Related
1. When you're stressed out you're more likely to either over-eat or under eat. When you do either of these things you are negatively impacting your blood glucose levels and your moods may swing violently, which will only create conflict and intensify your stress. Unfortunately, most of us don't realize how we can sabotage ourselves with food! Once you become aware of your stress response, you can make the choice to change it.
2. Food cannot cure stress, but it can help. When you eat nutritious foods, you are giving your body what it needs to deal with your daily demands. In other words, when you eat the proper foods you are giving your body the fuel it needs to make it through common stressful situations. When you predominantly eat processed sugars and man-made fats in your diet, your body doesn't have all of the nutrients and energy supplies needed to deal with stress, so instead, you're more likely to feel grouchy, tired, or anxious.
3. Stress breaks down the immune system, while the right foods can help support it. Time and time again, studies have proven that stress makes our immune system weaker, leaving us exposed to dangerous viruses, bacteria, and illnesses. It has also been proven that when you eat the right foods you're helping your body build and maintain a healthy immune system. The key here is simple: Eat right, feel great!
Your Stress and Your Diet
When you look at all of the ways that stress and diet are interwoven, it's hard to deny the fact that the foods you eat affect how you think, feel, and react. After all, an unhealthy diet not only stresses your body, but your mind as well. A good starting point is to evaluate your daily diet and make one change at a time to create that healthy lifestyle you deserve.
Not Just the Diet
A healthy and balanced diet can help you manage stress much more effectively, but simply eating right is not enough to help you deal with stress. There are many different things you can do to help control and manage your stress such as:
1. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night
2. Making time to relax
3. Having a support system
4. Knowing your limits
5. Proactively planning and organizing
6. Being able to say no
These are just a few stress solutions that, in addition to healthy eating, will help you limit and control the stress in your life. When you incorporate even just a few of these healthy living strategies into your life, you'll find that overwhelming stress is a thing of the past; and the weight
will be lifted off your shoulders. The easiest way to combat stress inducing foods is to eat real, whole foods; fruits, nuts, meat and vegetables. If processed foods are a trigger, keep them out of the house and don’t buy them.