Foods to avoid when you’re stressed

April 08, 2018

Life can be tough, we’re constantly rushing trying to get things done in both of personal and professional lives. With so much gong on, it’s easy to neglect ourselves and sometimes we can forget to eat and when you have a few minutes to spare, you’ll grab something quick and easy. The problem with this is that some foods can leave us feeling worse.

I’m going to tell you which foods to avoid when you’re stressed or under pressure.

High sugar foods

What to avoid: Ice cream, cakes, chocolate bars, breakfast cereals.

You might feel like you get a burst of energy from foods that are high in sugar, but that burst is usually followed by a slump. This is caused by a dramatic drop in blood sugar and this can lead to you feeling tired and grumpy. If you’re already stressed, this sugar crash can make you feel worse. On top of that, refined sugar can lead to a rise in our stress hormone, cortisol, making you feel even worse again and leaving you prone to poor immune function and weight gain.

What to have instead: Try a few squares of dark chocolate – dark chocolate has antioxidants which are known for their relaxation properties. It also contains magnesium which can help fight fatigue. Blueberries are also a good choice, they too are rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients to help reduce stress.

Highly processed foods

What to avoid: Crisps, biscuits, packaged foods.

When life is going at top speed, it’s hard to resist the convenience of a heat and eat packet of food. But that processed pack of food is full of refined sugar, preservatives, salt and fat. You are more or less feeding your body with empty calories as well as excess saturated fat. The result – you feel tired, bloated  and uncomfortable. When we’re stressed, our digestive system doesn’t perform as well as usual, don’t put it under any more strain.

What to have instead: You need to nourish your body, so go for grilled salmon and if you’re under time pressure, steam frozen veg in the microwave and fill up on greens.

Foods high in salt

What to avoid: Pizza, fried foods, crisps.

Salt can make your body retain fluid. Fluid retention makes your heart work faster, leading to a rise in blood pressure. And just like the highly processed foods make you feel, retaining fluid also makes you feel bloated and uncomfortable. Eating foods high in salt can deplete you of your energy and your potassium stores and this effects your nervous system.

What to eat instead: Try sweet potato fries, toast with avocado or a handful of almonds. Sweet potatoes have potassium which has a positive effect on the nervous system. Avocado and almonds are rich in magnesium, which can help fight headaches and fatigue.

In the middle of a stressful period, try not to forget your diet. Choosing the right foods can balance your nervous system and digestion and this will make a noticeable difference to how you feel. A good diet and exercise is a huge help in reducing stress.

I hope this helps you next time you find yourself in a stressful situation. ]


Ruth x

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