We all have been observing that people living a modern fast-paced lifestyle are under stress most of the time. Most of the people think that they are somewhat able to deal with the stressful situations mentally, yet they might be enduring the physical indications of stress that they fail to notice. These physical symptoms of stress include constipation, indigestion, headache or sore eyes.
Research studies suggest that stress can also affect our appetite, the food we eat and how we store fats. This happens due to the hormones we release in response to the stress. Hormones like cortisol are associated with prolonged stress.
Cortisol is our “fight or flight” hormone, implying that when it is being released, our body is getting us prepared either to fight with adverse situations or to hide from them. This used to be an extremely handy means of survival during the time when the only thing to be worried about was predators or enemies. But now, we are mainly stressed about office workload that actually wants us to stay still and be sensible.
As cortisol is preparing you to fight or hide, one of the things that occur in the presence of stress is that your appetite takes an upsurge. This is to ensure that you are equipped with ample energy en route to keep your enemies at bay (or finish your task before the deadline). Also, you might notice that when you are stressed, you do not go for fruits like bananas or apples because you are attracted towards highly delicious food items that contain optimum available energy.
Carbohydrates and fats are specifically alluring to the stressed individual. During stress, the reward center of our brain is charged up even more by such delicious food items. These highly palatable foods truly act as comfort foods by soothing our stress hormones and releasing the happy hormone – dopamine.
Stress also affects how and where we store fat. People having high level of cortisol – the stress hormone – are more susceptible to accumulate fats around their belly area. In addition, stress is associated with adverse mental effects. Short-term stress can result in stomach cramps, headaches, and weight gain, while prolonged stress affects every organ of the body; form your reproductive and digestive systems to your immune system. And if left unnoticed, chronic stress poses the risk of conditions including, type-2 diabetes, obesity, depression, and anxiety, as per the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
That is all just a portion of the entire equation. From lifestyle, sleep pattern, diet regime to personal relationships, and work, stress does take its toll every attribute of our lives. But to our fortune, there is a solution and we can guide you to the path. We will share some of the food items which can aid you in managing your stress levels.
Dark chocolate can help you tackle stress both emotionally as well as chemically. According to a Swiss study issued in the Journal of Proteome Research, dark chocolate also contains antioxidants that are beneficial in reversing the levels of the stress hormones present in our body. Just make sure you do not consume dark chocolate in excess as the calories can add up quite quickly.
This yellow fruit rich in potassium consists of the mood-enhancing chemical dopamine in tandem with magnesium, whose levels take a dip during stressful times. According to a study in psychopharmacology, bananas are abundant in certain vitamin B such as, vitamin B6 that supports the functioning of the nervous system. Also, consuming banana and banana essence can help in curbing high blood pressure levels.
Not only do citrus fruits get rid of scurvy, but also they can ward off stress. Consuming citrus fruits – grapefruits, oranges, and strawberries is a good start, yet you might have to look for supplements to reach increased levels of the vitamins and derivatives. Consult your doctor before including vitamin C supplements to your health regime.
Warm, Soothing Drinks
Sandra Meyerowitz, MPH, RD, an online nutrition trainer and the owner of Nutrition Works in Louisville, Kentucky suggests that drinking a soothing, warm cup of tea, regardless of the flavor causes a soothing impact on our body. There are certain herbs that have proven to deliver a relaxing impact like chamomile, which can decrease stress by improving the stress response of the body, and boosting the production of the happy hormones – serotonin and dopamine.