3 Foods to Avoid When You’re Stressed
Why is it that when we get stressed we begin to crave exactly the opposite of what is good for us? For many of us that struggle with stress, as soon as we begin to feel those anxieties creeping up on us, we would do anything to alleviate it. However, when we are stressed and anxious we are often not thinking very straight, and we might make poor food choices that end up hurting us instead of brain-healthy ones that help us reach our goals.
Consider the typical comfort foods: things like gooey mac & cheese, creamy potatoes, and decadent ice cream. These foods are what your brain craves most when it’s stressed, and because you feel so anxious you want to do whatever you can to feel better and figure, “Why not? I deserve it; I just want to feel better…”
But, if you listen to your stressed-out brain, you will only end up feeling worse. These foods, because they are high in carbs send your blood sugar on a roller coaster, are what your stressed-out brain craves. They even increase your cortisol (the stress hormone) levels. This only makes it more difficult to calm your anxious thoughts and will cause you to feel stressed and groggy. Additionally, foods that contain sugar, gluten, and casein from dairy actually trigger the pleasure center in your brain.
3 Food Groups to Avoid When You Are Feeling Stressed:
1. Wheat Based Products – (bread, tortillas, etc). They are truly addictive and nearly impossible to get people off of – when carbohydrates are processed in your body they are immediately broken down to sugar. Gluten also damages your intestinal lining, which can affect the production absorption of serotonin in your body.
2. Corn – Eating corn or corn-based products will only make you more anxious, as it is high in carbs which will increase your blood sugar, and starch, which will leave you feeling drowsy and lethargic.
3. Sugary Processed Treats – This one is tough. You think maybe if I go get a snack from the vending machine, I’ll feel better and have more energy. You go for the Kit-Kat, you deserve a break, after all. However, not long after your chocolate break, you feel jittery, your anxiety is back and worse. Not long after that, you crash, lethargic and unable to focus. Go for healthier options instead that will help you feel fuller longer.
In addition to avoiding these food groups during times of stress, it’s important to support your body. Stress can drain your energy and important nutrients, help your body replenish those nutrients by putting good in.
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Those are three foods you should avoid at all times, not just when stressed.