Although it may feel like comfort food has reduced your stress it is only temporary and this higher intake of calories can lead to cardiovascular problems or obesity.
Initially, when individuals are stressed they tend to lose their appetite, which can cause unintended weight loss that is harmful for one’s health, especially when too much weight is lost too quickly. Alternatively, stress can cause individuals to increase their intake of foods higher in fat, refined sugar, and alcohol and thus calories.
Therefore, we are providing some tips to help reduce stress through diet:
1. Eat small, frequent meals: When you are having a stressful day, try to eat little and often. Avoid skipping breakfast even though you may not feel hungry, it will help your metabolism for the day as well as stabilize your blood sugar level. For breakfast, opt for foods such as fruits, whole-grain cereal, or oatmeal.
2. Eat well throughout the day: It is important to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Focus on foods that contain B vitamins (for example: bananas, avocados, nuts, fish, meat, dairy products), Vitamin C (oranges, tomatoes, and leafy green vegetables), and Magnesium (nuts, whole grains, leafy green vegetables, brown rice, and beans). These vitamins and minerals can help with your stress by helping you feel energetic, relax your muscles, and reduce your anxiety.
3. Limit caffeine intake: You can reduce your caffeine intake by substituting coffee or tea with decaffeinated options. Also, by substituting sugary caffeinated soft drinks with or sparkling water, you’ll likely sleep better because caffeine can stay in your system for up to 4-6 hours.
4. Reduce alcohol, sugar, and salt intake: When you consume too much of these, they tend to push fruits and vegetables, and other nutrient dense, foods right off your plate. They take up calories but provide little nutrition.
5. Consume probiotics: Probiotics have shown to keep your gut bacteria healthy as well as having a positive effect on stress disorders such as anxiety and depression. Great sources include fermented foods, think yogurt, sauerkraut and other fermented foods. Don’t forget to feed your gut flora with lots of whole foods!
6. Exercise: Just doing some light exercise can help reduce stress levels, especially when it is combined with a healthy diet. Exercises such breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga can be helpful as well as taking walks outside.