It’s normal to feel stressed from time to time. However, regular stress or being stressed for a long time is harmful to your body. While exercise, medication, and adequate sleep help relieve stress, checking what you consume is equally important. What you eat directly affects your mental health in either a positive or negative way. Here we look at what kind of food to avoid when feeling stressed.
Normally, stress makes you crave energy-giving food to boost your mood; although, such food only worsens the case. Though sometimes stress can drain your energy, causing you to reach out for fast processed foods and drinks, you should watch out before you are trapped in levels of stress that can only subside through medical intervention.
Food to Avoid When Feeling Stressed
Sugar is among the food that you should cut from your diet to reduce stress. When you are stressed, the body releases cortisol – a hormone that regulates stress and sugar levels. When you consume lots of sugar, the level of blood sugar rises. Therefore, your body must release more cortisol to regulate blood sugar.
Unfortunately, high cortisol levels can cause health problems such as sleep issues, headaches, unhealthy food cravings, and decreased immune response. High sugar levels can also cause feeling similar to stress, such as anxiousness and fear. Avoid food with lots of sugar to keep your blood sugar levels in check while reducing stress and mood swings.
Processed carbohydrates can be sweet to eat, but the fact is that they are useless to your body. First of all, they do not have any nutritional value, hence being useless calories. Secondly, they alter your blood sugar levels, causing you to feel irritable and moody.
Processed carbohydrates are high in sodium which not only makes you feel thirsty but also causes your body to reserve more fluid. This makes your heart work harder to keep the blood pumping. Regular intake of processed carbohydrates increases your blood pressure and bloated stomach that makes you feel unwell, increasing your stress levels.
Most people seek refuge in alcohol whenever things are tough. However, instead of making you feel well, alcohol can only worsen your case. Though you are likely to fall asleep faster when you are drunk, alcohol increases cortisol levels, which can hinder you from getting the much-needed deep sleep.
Lack of enough uninterrupted sleep can lead to increased stress. Additionally, alcohol causes anxiety since it interferes with neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. After the effects of alcohol subside, you are likely to feel more anxious. Some alcoholic drinks also contain added sugar, which is a stress-aggravating ingredient.
Food to Avoid When Feeling Stressed – Processed Foods
Unless you want to experience some more stress, avoid processed food as much as possible. Avoid anything that is packed with added preservatives, or generally avoid anything that is not natural. Processed food is a good source of added chemicals in your stomach whenever you consume these foods.
When these chemicals are introduced into your body, they interfere with your ability to cope with stress. Ensure that you do not consume processed meat, high-fat dairy products, candy, and refined cereals to keep stress at bay.
Avoid taking too much caffeine. You can continue taking your cup of coffee in the morning or evening, but ensure that you do not do so throughout the day. Caffeine can cause your blood pressure to rise since it interferes with adrenal glands by overstimulating the body.
When blood sugar levels rise, there will also be an increase in anxiousness. It’s also advisable for individuals with anxiety to completely do away with caffeine. Remember that caffeine isn’t only found in coffee; some soft drinks, energy drinks, and painkillers contain caffeine. Therefore, be watchful of the ingredients of whatever you are consuming to avoid indulging in caffeine without your knowledge.
It’s always a great idea to grab something healthy whenever you feel down. However, it’s ironic to know that a freshly pressed juice won’t help. Wonder why? Pressed juice does not contain slow-digesting fiber, unlike whole fruits. Instead, it is rich in fructose and glucose, which makes the blood sugar rise due to the trigger of the stress hormone adrenaline caused by glucose. Instead of freshly pressed juice, opt for a glass of water, and you will feel a bit better.
Ice cream can only cool your mouth and not mind. Remember that ice cream has added refined sugar that is a stress-causing ingredient. Since your body can not use all the refined sugar, the blood glucose drops immediately. The brain senses a life-threatening issue, hence secreting more cortisol to trigger hunger once more time. In the end, this process can only make you feel more stressed.
Food to Avoid When Feeling Stressed – Diet Soda
It can be tempting to take that cold soda whenever you are stressed. But, please don’t go for it! An artificial sweetener, aspartame, found in diet soda, can block the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This leads to mental problems such as mood swings, insomnia, and stress.
Some food that we indulge in might cause increased levels of stress. Understanding what is best for your mental health can go a long way in ensuring that you live a generally healthy life. Most people reach out for fast food without knowing the level of damage they are causing to their health.
Instead of processed drinks and foods, it’s advisable to ensure that you eat whole fruits and grains to lead a stress-free life. Together with a balanced diet, ensure that you have enough rest and sleep, exercise often, and concentrate on things that make you happy.