Tips For Healthy Eating During Stress
For some weird reason, eating appears to be therapeutic. We turn to food for comfort when we feel tired, happy, a little down, or even stressed after a long day. In periods like this, however, it’s funny how our minds make us reach out to only food high in sugar. This causes us to unconsciously build a culture around unhealthy eating which in the long run, is detrimental to our well-being. What the body really needs in periods of stress is healthy eating. This is the major source of nourishment to the body.
Foods like white bread, cakes and cookies (pastries), most pizza, pasta, fries, high-calorie coffee drinks, chocolate, ice cream, and other sugary treats are examples of unhealthy food. These foods digest quickly and their high glycemic index causes unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels. It would therefore be beneficial for you to know which foods will boost your feeling and at the same time, nourish your body.
But cutting down on sugary foods and ensuring healthy eating sorta proves difficult
Despite the fact that we’re very much aware of the harmful effects of unhealthy foods on our bodies, cutting back on sugary treats and ensuring healthy eating may sometimes come off as a daunting task. This is most likely because of the “feel good” effect from consuming these foods.
Calories obtained from sugary beverages and processed food are more likely to add weight to your abdomen. Due to the fact that a lot of belly fat surrounds the abdominal organs and liver, too much weight on the waistline can lead to an increase in insulin resistance and an increased risk of diabetes. Therefore, cutting back on sugary foods can mean a slimmer waistline as well as a lower risk of diabetes.
Cutting back on those detrimental food doesn’t necessarily mean you would never get to feel satisfied. It also doesn’t mean that you would never enjoy comfort food again. The key is to choose and focus on the right carbs and ensure healthy eating.
What Kind Of Foods Make Up Healthy Eating?
Food serves different purposes. Aside from the conventional “eating because you’re hungry”, there are foods that help you keep calm, relaxed, avoid depression, alert and concentrated. Instead of reaching for ice cream or chocolate, you can consider the following food options for healthy eating:
Oranges and other citrus fruits
Oranges and other citrus fruits are extremely rich in vitamin C. This vitamin not only boosts your immune system but also can reduce stress as well by lowering the level of the stress hormone. This produces a calm and more relaxing effect on your body. Aside from oranges, fruits such as lemons, limes, and grapefruits are examples of citrus fruits.
Green leafy vegetables, unrefined or whole grains
Unrefined grains include cereal, brown rice, oatmeal, and barley. These foods are high in magnesium which gets depleted when you are under stress. The mineral magnesium may help you remain calm and relaxed. Sleep-enhancing compounds called gamma-aminobutyric acid and tryptophan can also be derived when you consume vegetables and unrefined grains and this is a necessity in times of stress.
Poultry, red meat, shellfish, dairy products
These foods are sources of an amino acid called tryptophan, and they literally boost happiness. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid needed to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that helps regulate sleep, appetite, mood, and impulse control. Low levels of tryptophan would mean lesser serotonin in the brain, which could lead to low mood and irritability.
Avocado or banana
These foods contain tyrosine which helps the body produce dopamine and norepinephrine. This boosts alertness and concentration. Dopamine is the compound that makes you feel joyful and hungry. It has been found that it is not only beneficial for food but for knowledge as well. Avocado and Banana are rich sources of potassium. This element is crucial for brain, nerve function, and blood pressure.
Seeds, nuts, beans, and legumes
These foods are known to contain Omega-3 fatty acids. They are essential for brain function and mood regulation. Salmon, sardine, and mackerel, peas, kidney beans, soybeans, and peanuts could help protect against depression. On the other hand, a low intake of this fatty acid is also associated with pessimism and impulsivity. Consume more omega-3-fatty acids to make you feel more alert and focused.
Eat the right carbohydrates
Cutting too far back on carbohydrates may lead to irritability. It is important that you eat enough carbohydrates because they are needed for serotonin to get into the brain. A diet very low in carbohydrates may lead to fatigue. Good sources of carbohydrates include wheat bread, whole grain cereals, potatoes, whole grain oatmeal, and sweet potatoes.
Water may not come off as a type of food but is an absolute compliment to healthy eating. Drinking a lot of water daily helps prevent dehydration which allows the elimination of poor concentration and low energy.
Food grossly affects the way we feel in multiple ways. It affects the production of neurotransmitters and hormones and even our energy levels. These immensely determine how well you respond to your daily activities’ stress and demands. Improving your mood is not solely dependent on one food. Consuming a wide variety of healthy foods will help you promptly bounce back when you break down from stress. It would also help you keep a positive mood and maintain a healthy body system.