How to Eat Your Way to Less Stress

How to Eat Your Way to Less Stress

We often think about stress and eating in terms of over-eating in stressful situations. When you reframe what you eat in these circumstances, you can see a positive outcome.

There are several foods and drinks that can combat stress, stress hormones, and feelings of overwhelm.

Instead of reaching for chips, sugary snacks, and wine regularly, try to make more positive and conscious choices (aka mindfulness). When you turn to these foods and drinks, it can often lead to a feedback loop that creates more craving and negative behaviors. We're starting to see a major increase of alcohol intake as a result of the pandemic, which can become a deeper-rooted problem that might require assistance from an alcohol rehab.

Help your body combat and lower your stress levels by making smarter food choices!

This once boring (but always great) staple has been revamped and reworked in recent years. Overnight oats, oat milk, oat puddings, and more have made a huge splash and become a firm fixture in many daily menus.

But the really great thing about oatmeal is that it's a complex carb. When our stress levels rise, our blood sugar levels rise with it. Having a complex carb like oatmeal will help you to regulate blood sugar, balance neurotransmitter production (think: serotonin) and help to keep your blood lipid levels down

Our bodies don’t react well to chronic stress, and any way that you can help support your body through that time is important. One of the best fruits for helping give you antioxidants and phytonutrients that can help your body respond to stress in a more positive way is blueberries.

So the next time you make your bowl of oatmeal, consider adding a handful of blueberries to the top for a double whammy of goodness!

Dark chocolate
Chocolate can be a tricky topic when talking about eating and stress. Swapping sugary milk chocolate for 70% (or higher) dark chocolate can still give you all of the delights of chocolate but a little healthier.

Studies show that dark chocolate has the ability to reduce cortisol levels in our body. And doing so helps you to relax and lessen your stress.

Not only that but the antioxidants in the cocoa help your blood vessels to relax, and that helps to lower your blood pressure, improving your circulation.
*When choosing your dark chocolate, stick with options that have over 70% cocoa.

Green Tea
If you switch just one or two of your daily coffees for a cup of green tea, then you may soon find that your stress levels are lower.

One large study with over 40,000 people saw that green tea was responsible for up to 20% lower psychological stress. Participants drank at least 5 cups per day. What makes the study incredible is that no matter what other factors were involved like BMI, smoking, diet, or age, the same reduction happened.

If you don’t enjoy green tea, then another option is chamomile tea. Many people who have trouble sleeping will consume a cup of chamomile tea at bedtime. Having a good night’s sleep is one of the important factors when it comes to managing your stress levels.

If you have an unbalanced gut microbiome, this can be a huge contributing factor to your stress levels. Studies show that when our gut is off-balance, this can contribute to high-stress levels, depression, and gastric issues.
It is a difficult cycle to get control of, but having probiotics like those in live yogurt can help to give you some balance.

Probiotics can help to reduce the activity that can be seen in the brain under stressful situations. Although there needs to be more research into the link between the gut biome and the brain, adding a probiotic into your diet is a great idea.

One of the perks of enjoying a fresh avocado is that it is naturally filling. It can help you feel satisfied and less likely to reach for those 3 pm blood-sugar dip foods.

While eggs are an animal source of acetylcholine, the neurotransmitter that can help you regulate your mood, plant-based eaters can get this from tofu, broccoli, and even mushrooms. When your mood levels are regulated, it becomes easier to manage your stress levels.

Continue to look at ways to improve your health and wellness, starting with your diet. I recently wrote a post on nutrient-density and how to boost it. Start with those tips and reach out if you need further guidance!