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Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Relationship Between Stress And Diet

 By: Lee Dobbins

Do you run to the snack drawer when you get stressed out? For
many people there is a direct relationship between stress and
the foods they eat. For many turning to snack foods in stressful
situations is a method of comforting themselves, but what many
don't realize is that what you are eating can also add to your

Stress has more of a role in what we eat than many realize and a
great deal of overeating can be attributed to stress. One common
substance that we ingest which can be related to our stress
levels is caffeine. Caffeine is not only found in coffee but is
also in tea, soda and chocolate. Caffeine can add to your stress
by elevating your heat beat as well as your blood pressure.
Cutting out caffeine may help you reduce stress, but it is
advised to cut back gradually to avoid suffering the ill effects
of withdrawal.

Some people turn to alcohol when they get stressed but alcohol
can actually increase stress. Alcohol can make your body produce
adrenaline which can affect your sleep. Drinking alcohol can
make you tense and can interfere with your bodies immune system.

One common comfort food that many stressed out people turn to is
sugar. Who hasn't ripped open a candy bar after a stressful work
day? While it may seem like this is comforting you, it can
actually make you feel more stressed. This is because sugar can
affect the adrenal glands which can lead to depression and
irritability. Fatty foods go hand in hand with sugar and fat can
strain the cardiovascular system leading to more stress on your

Typically people either turn to sugar or salt for snack foods
but eating salty foods is no better on your system. Salt raises
blood pressure and can cause you to feel out of control with
your emotions. If you are already stressed out this can compound
your feelings.

If you want to control stress, you should take a good look at
what you are eating. Try eating a diet rich in fruits,
vegetables and whole foods. These foods will naturally help you
fight stress and are filled with nutrients that will help your
overall health. In addition, eating healthy won't pack on the
pounds thus allowing you to avoid the stress of weight gain. In
order to get the maximum amount of nutrients, aim to eat the
majority of your fruits and vegetables raw as some important
vitamins and enzymes can be lost during cooking.

How can you tell if your diet is adding to your stress? Pay
attention to any warning signs. Do you experience headaches
after eating? Are you having neck or back pain? Do you get
irritable after dinner? Are you feeling anxious for no reason?

If you answer "yes" to any of these, you might have food induced
stress. While fighting this with better food choices, also make
sure that you get at least seven hours of sleep each night in
order to ensure that you are well-rested. Being tired can
contribute significantly to your stress level.

There is no question that there is a connection between stress
and you diet. Eating caffeine filled drinks and sugary foods
will make you jittery and hyper as well as reduce your ability
to concentrate and relax. On the other hand, meals loaded with
vitamins and minerals will give you clarity of mind and give
your body the ability to better handle any stressful situation
that comes along.

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