Everyone has some kind of stress in their life, whether that be with your relationships, careers, finances or just day to day tasks that need to be completed. During these times of stress, it may feel nice for a moment to reach for the candy, TV remote or even alcohol but all of these are temporary escapes. To truly manage your stress in a healthy way, it takes a change in your lifestyle. A good diet is key to reducing stress and feeling better in your body.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, short term stress can actually slow or stop your appetite, this is caused by your brain releasing corticotrophin hormone and your kidneys releasing epinephrine. The opposite is true if the stress is long term; if the stress persists, then your adrenal glands release cortisol which can increase your appetite. Research has shown that people tend to go for the more fatty and sugary foods during this time because of the perceived effects that these “comfort foods” have on them. Along with a poor diet during times of stress, many other factors may play a part in increased weight gain such as loss of sleep, less exercise and more consumption of alcohol. Along with the preexisting stress that is causing all of this to happen, these factors can also add to the stress that a person is dealing with and then a bad cycle forms. To reduce the impacts of stress, it is important to learn how to deal with stress.
6 helpful tips that can help you manage stress and keep it from getting out of control:
- Eat and exercise regularly
- Get healthy fats, such as from flaxseeds, walnuts and fish oils.
- Eat your vegetables
- Add high fiber foods such as oatmeal, nuts, beans, fruits and vegetables.
- Try to get more sleep instead of drinking caffeine
- Buy healthier snacks in case you do feel like stress eating
Along with these healthy lifestyle tips, these foods have been shown to help reduce stress:
- Vitamin C such as oranges and other citrus fruits have been shown to lower cortisol levels.
- Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables have been shown to help increase serotonin levels and stabilize blood pressure.
- Magnesium such as spinach, leafy greens, salmon and soybeans can help improve sleep quality.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids such as fatty fish (salmon and tuna), nuts and seeds (flaxseeds, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds) can help reduce stress hormones.
- Herbal teas have been shown to have calming effects and decrease stress inducing insomnia, anxiety and anger.
A healthy balanced diet is the first step in trying to manage your crazy stressful life because what you put into your body effects how it functions and how you feel. A healthy lifestyle can not only help you manage your stress but also live a fuller happier life.