Let's Talk about Stress...and What You Can Do About It
Updated: May 26, 2022
Throughout this quick blog, we'll talk about how you can utilize your nutrition to help when stress rears its ugly head...
Let's be honest - life can bring a lot of emotions and stress. And being stressed SUUUUUUUUCKS! And while some stress is good (like stressing your body & muscles through physical exertion), when most people hear the word "stress" we often think of the heart-pounding, anxiety-inducing stress that comes, well, with being a human being.
We know stress affects your heart, mind and body in many ways. And when you’re stressed, sometimes it feels like it will never end. Whether you are under a tight deadline at work, experiencing a "rough patch" in your relationship, seeing family for the first time in a while, or rushing to the airport, stress can present itself on an almost daily basis. It's normal to experience waves of stress - the body is designed to respond to this stress. However, if you find that you are often over-stressed, without the ability to relax or unwind, that's where stress can have potentially negative side effects to your health & happiness.
When stress takes over, exercise and food are often the first things to go out the window - but damn they are oh so important! Sleep can become difficult, our energy can drop, our libido can drop, and it can be easy to overeat, or turn to your comfort foods. So in todays post, we are going to talk about how you can utilize food & nutrition to help when you are stressed.
My top 5 tips for managing overeating when stressed
If you're not consciously aware of your food choices, stress has the potential to highly impact your nutrition. Whether you go on autopilot and zone out when you eat, or feel like you have no time so you "cram it all in" quickly and end up eating too much, or you turn to your comfort foods to help you feel better, or too often utilize alcohol to unwind - there are plenty of ways that stress can lead to nutritional choices which don't serve you. So, here are a few tips for managing your nutrition when stressed:
Prep & plan: fill your fridge & pantry with nutritious foods, and keep your "kryptonite" out of the house so it's not even an option
If you're the type of person that forgets to eat, and then is suddenly ravenous, start with a small, nutritious snack (ideally high protein and/or fat), take your time, and then decide on your meal
Practice slow eating: slow down and focus on eat bite - try putting your fork down, or drink some water between each bite
Eat distraction free: cell phones down, TV off, and definitely not in front of your computer
Limit the alcohol intake
Let’s take some of the stress out of our food choices and become present...when you're stressed, remember that one of the things you can control is your food choices - to me, that's pretty empowering. Remember, its ok to enjoy your favorite foods... but enjoy them consciously and plan-fully and you'll never stress about overindulging.
Which tip are you going to try?
Some foods which help combat stress
While I try and not be an "eat this and not that" type of wellness coach, did you know there are certain foods, herbs and spices that can help in the fight against stress and anxiety naturally? Below are 5 of the most accessible that you might already have at home!
Sweet Potatoes: shown to help reduce cortisol (aka “the stress hormone”)
Tahini (or sesame seeds): these puppies are chock full of Tryptophan, an important amino acid. Your body changes L-tryptophan into a brain chemical called serotonin. Serotonin helps control your mood and sleep.
Matcha Powder / Green Tea: contains an amino acid called Theanine. L-theanine has positive effects on both the mental and physical symptoms of stress, with further research suggesting it can help reduce anxiety. Don’t like green tea? Theanine is found in all tea
Acerola Cherries: fun fact - these cherries contain one of the most concentrated sources of vitamin C of ANY food. Research shows that Vit C may play a role in elevating your mood, which can help improve your stress levels, mental and emotional health
Garlic: Studies have shown that consuming garlic regularly can help you control problems that would otherwise damage your emotional and mental health - thanks to glutathione!
Stress WILL happen
Being stressed from time to time is just a part of being a human being - unless you're living under a rock, of course. This article focused on nutrition + stress, but there are also a ton of other ways to help when you're stressed: focusing on managing our stress through mindfulness routines (studies show that even 2-minutes of meditation can reduce stress levels), movement, and turning to your support network will also help massively. Look for future blogs addressing these aspects.
Overstressed and don't know what to do? If you'd like to chat about how I can help you get out of the stress slump and achieve your biggest goals, I invite you to book a complimentary Health Optimizer call.