Are you stress eating?
Do you know how to control stress eating?
Do you know that there are foods that reduce stress levels?
There are circumstances in our daily life that triggers stress eating. It could be a bad day at work. A fight with somebody. Overwhelmed with the mountain of tasks at the office. Some draining situations at home. Or simply exhausted, lonely and bored.
Most of the time when we feel angry, exhausted, frustrated, depressed, afraid, nervous, sad, lonely or bored, we tend to eat our negative feelings away. When we are at this state, we seemed to cannot help ourselves from opening our fridge and reach for something to eat even if we are not hungry!
When we turn to food to cope with our emotional distress, we are stress eating.
What Causes Stress Eating
The negative emotions such as anger, frustration, fear, loneliness, sadness, and boredom can trigger your stress hormone called cortisol. When you feel stressed, your body sends out cortisol which makes you crave for a pint of ice cream, a pizza, fast food, a bag of chips or any food that could comfort and relieve you of your stress.
Cortisol can make you want to eat salty, sweet, fatty, unhealthy foods.
Cortisol can drive you to stress eating.
You eat not because you are hungry but to comfort and fill your emotion, your stress. And when you are stressed out, the foods that you are turning to are most likely going to be traditional ‘comfort’ foods – think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol.
Let’s admit it – there is a kind of comfort in having a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we are upset about something. Although, we know that it is not a good and permanent solution. In fact, it does not address our real feelings and problems at all.
At worst, when you are turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus.
Stress eating can lead to even more stress.
How To Control Stress Eating
Stress eating can pose a great danger to our health if left uncontrolled.
Although it is not the same for every person, there is an unmistakable relation between stress and our appetite.
Actually, because of stress some people they lose their appetite and tend to ignore their hunger. For some people, it is the other way around, stress causes them to eat mindlessly. Hence, the so called stress eating.
Stress eating can be really harmful to you especially if you get stuck in an unhealthy eating cycle. So before things get out of hand, you need to lean how to control your stress eating.
Know the Main Cause to Learn How to Control Your Stress Eating:
Stress eating may be a problem. However, in order to deal with it, you need to specifically know its main cause. And then, find a way to manage your stress that does not involve gorging on unhealthy food!
If your stress is triggered by tiredness, fatigue, weariness… Why not treat yourself a visit to a spa or a relaxing massage. If not, take a hot bath or a hot shower at home. It is a proven method to lift our mood. As the saying goes, there is nothing that a hot bath cannot cure. So if you feel exhausted, do not open the fridge first! Go to the bathroom and enjoy the hot bath plunge!
Smile, breathe, and go slowly! This is one of the popular quotes about anxiety. If you are feeling anxious, stress eating is not the solution. You can try listening to your favorite song and dance to your favorite music. You can also do some aerobic exercises. According to study, even just five minutes of aerobic exercise can help to elevate and stabilize mood.
If boredom strikes, take it a sign to pick a new hobby and learn new things. Perhaps this is now a good time to do what you have been dying to do but could not do before because of assorted reasons. Learn to play the piano or the guitar or whatever musical instrument interests you. Perhaps you can learn cooking new recipes. Do scrapbooking, some DIY crafts, woodworking or painting. Photography is also an interesting hobby even only with the use of our mobile phones. Smart phones nowadays come with truly impressive cameras which can help us capture stunning photos.
This is not an easy matter to deal by yourself. If you are feeling depressed, it is better to have somebody to talk to. Call your family or a friend and talk to them about what you are going through. Though they may not have the direct solution to your problem. You will find it relieving when you have somebody to talk to and is listening to you. Having a pet can also help alleviate your negative feelings. So have a dog or a cat to play with.
Venting your anger towards mindless munching with unhealthy food is fine. It is better than trying to verbally and physically harm others. Most people cannot manage without resorting to violence. Although doing those things will cause them regret later. However, stress eating is also not a good solution to anger. While you may not be harming yourself externally, you may have serious internal health complications later. It may not be easy but it is wise to take a breather. Instead of heading to grab some unhealthy bites or drinks. How about taking a brisk walk outside and breathe some fresh air. Doing some physical exercises such as walking and running are known to help manage anger and reducing stress.
10 Foods that Reduce Stress Levels
Unhealthy stress eating needs control. However, if you find that the above mentioned tips are not enough. And you still find yourself craving to munch something. Then do not just eat mindlessly. Instead, eat wisely and healthy. There are foods that are known to reduce stress levels in a healthy way.
It is important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid. We need it when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet. And that includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.
Filling up on foods such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to heal and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix.
Some of the best foods that reduce stress include:
Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
3. Chamomile Tea
Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
4. Dark Chocolate
Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on chocolate bars every time you’re stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate in particular is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.
Grass-fed beef is not only kinder to the planet and to animals, it’s also good for people, too. Grass-fed beef has a huge range of antioxidants, including beta-carotene and Vit-amins C and E, which can help your body to fight stress and anxiety. If you’re looking for more reasons to spend a little more money on organic, grass-fed beef, it’s also lower in fat than grain-fed beef whilst being higher in omega-3.
Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.
If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
Another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!
9. Green Leafy Vegetables
Leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
10. Fermented Foods
Last but not least, eating fermented foods such as yogurt can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods such as yogurt actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.
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