How Stress Can Affect Your Diet

stress womanIs there a direct relationship between stress and the food we eat? There is. When was the last time you ate a boxful of chocolate, a gallon of ice cream, or three slices of family size pizza during stressful situations? Through eating we comfort ourselves. But under stressful conditions such as pressure at work, fight with a loved one, or failing to pass a crucial exam, we eat and eat and eat. Worse, binge eating results to unwanted stress also.

Stress certainly plays a major role in our diet. Many of us abandon a diet when in despair. Whether it is a very bad day at work or school, young children having a petty fight, a forthcoming visit from your in-laws, or a boyfriend/girlfriend making things difficult for you, stress often leads you to the nearest convenient store for a bag of Lay’s potato chips or straight to the fridge for that mouth-watering Devil’s Cake.

Of course, it is impossible to have a completely stress-free life. The ups and downs are part of your everyday life. What you can do is to control it to prevent you from storming to any food in sight.

Take time for yourself

You have to make ample time for yourself. You may listen to a relaxing music, read a good novel, take a long bath, or take a peaceful stroll in the park – just remember that it is something that you really want. You also need to focus not on the symptom but on the cause.

It is very easy for many people to "treat" their bad feelings with brownies or french fries. But even if uncontrollable eating makes you feel better at the outset, you will still have to confront the situation that causes the stress. Some exercise will also help. Many people find that working out in gym not only provides physical benefits, but also an effective way to relax.

How to prevent stress?

It is also a fact that poor diet can cause stress. Thus, in order to prevent stress which usually leads to binge eating, you have to moderate your intake of some food and beverage. Caffeine, found in coffee, chocolate, soda, and certain teas can be linked to stress levels. It can elevate blood pressure and heart rate, adding stress to your body.

Many people are not aware that decreasing caffeine intake can reduce stress. Avoiding caffeine may be very difficult for some since we all know that it is highly addictive. Here is what you need to do: when you are trying to lessen your caffeine intake, you have to do it gradually for you not to suffer caffeine withdrawal side effects.

Healthy diet

Many consider drinking alcohol to be an effective way to relieve stress. Actually, alcohol has been found to increase stress levels. When you drink alcohol, your body produces adrenaline that affects your sleep. It can also affect your body’s immune system and make your body tense. Sugar is perhaps the most popular comfort food.

Eating foods that are high in sugar such as cake, ice cream, and chocolate can increase stress levels. Few people know that sugar largely affects the adrenal glands, leading to depression or irritability. Consuming sugar- and fat-rich foods can also strain your cardiovascular system, which can lead to more stress. Many junk foods are also high in salt. Such foods can increase your blood pressure, resulting in stress.

What should you eat to control stress levels?

You have to eat a diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, and whole foods to fight stress naturally. These foods also contain nutrients beneficial to overall health. In addition, foods rich in nutrition can prevent you from gaining weight.

You should try to eat fruits and vegetables raw to consume maximum nutrition. Headaches, back and neck pain, anxiety, and irritability following a meal are common signs of food induced stress. Therefore, you need to stay away from stress diets.