Lifestyle Patient Awareness

Stress Eating: Foods to Eat and Avoid

Stress Eating
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Stress Eating is Real!

Stress eating is the single most important reason why diets fail! If you think about it, we think of the act of ‘eating’ and feeling ‘hungry’ as the same thing. But it is not so. We do not always eat to satiate our hunger pangs. We eat to do much more – express our anger, vent our frustration, sadness, boredom or simply out of loneliness.

But does eating or ‘stress eating’ in a situation that overwhelms us make it any easy for us or make us feel happy? Nope, not a chance. Stress eating makes one feel guilty about binge eating. Whatever the situation may be, giving into food cravings is never the answer.

But what is Emotional Eating?

Emotional eating, a polite name for stress eating, is using food to make one feel better, i.e., a temporary answer to your neediness. While its best to steer clear of mood-lifting food choices, it occasionally does work wonders. But mostly, stress eating or eating junk foods when emotionally low, creates a vicious cycle of unhealthy food choices. Simply put, food is not a great option to unwind or vent. Also, it doesn’t make the problem, or the cause of stress go away. Emotionally, one may continue to feel the same way. Plus, once the craving is over, the calories and fats take over!

Instead of binge eating, we need to focus on mindful eating and not let out sentiments get the better of us. But before we achieve this, let’s look at:

Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid in Stress Eating!

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a wonderful superfood that aids in keeping the Serotonin hormone (calm-inducing hormone) flowing thereby helping to keep our stress levels in check. Thank Oat’s rich carbohydrate content for this. Stress also causes the blood sugar level to rise. Eating complex carbohydrates like oatmeal doesn’t allow the sugar level to grow further. Also, resort to the old-fashioned, coarse oats instead of the instant ones. Coarse oats are rich in fiber and do wonders for our health.

Dark chocolate

Regular indulgence in a piece of dark chocolate helps to regulate our stress levels. Another good news is that the antioxidants in cocoa help to lower blood pressure and also aid in blood circulation. Not to forget, the feeling of goodness that one experiences on biting into a piece of sinful dark chocolate. So, next time you treat yourself to this dark fantasy, don’t feel guilty! You are doing more good than harm.

Pistachios

Negative thoughts engulfing the mind? Get into the rhythmic act of shelling some pistachios. Pistas or pistachios are heart-friendly for they help to reduce stress and keep a check on the blood pressure levels. Moreover, since this is a slow process of shelling and then consuming, these also help as great diet-friendly snacks.

And what should you cut down on?

Sugar

Sugar is one item that you should keep under control if you want to reduce your elevated stress levels. When we are stressed out, the body releases the hormone Cortisol that helps manage the stress levels. Increased stress also spikes the blood sugar level. So, the body has to release more Cortisol to manage this spike. Increased Cortisol levels cause a headache, low immune systems, insomnia issues, and unexplainable food cravings.

So, replace the sugary items with whole foods for they help to keep the blood sugar stable, reduce the stress, and contribute to maintaining a happy YOU!

Alcohol

Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages leaves us with a feeling of anxiousness. They too like others, elevates the heart rate and blood pressure levels. Alcohol may initially make you feel dizzy, but in fact, it disturbs your sleep patterns and does not allow you to slip into a deep slumber. Not to forget, the hangover feeling with which you wake up the following morning – which by the way, makes you feel more stressed out!

Caffeine overdose

Most of us need a morning boost of caffeine to kick start our day. But if you land up consuming cups and cups of coffee/tea, then you are spelling trouble for your adrenal glands. This overstimulation has a profound impact on the nervous system and the cardiovascular system. It also ups our blood pressure and heart rate thereby increasing our anxiety levels.

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