If you’re like many people, you crave high-fat, high-sugar and high-calorie foods when you’re stressed. What’s worse, the excess calories you get from these foods are more likely to be stored in your belly than elsewhere in the body.
You may think you’re reaching for convenience foods when you’re stressed because you’re short on time – and patience. But often, the culprit is the stress hormone cortisol at work. Cortisol is a “fight or flight” hormone designed to energize your mind and body when danger strikes. The problem is that when this hormone kicks in, it prompts your body to eat. And when you reach for foods in response to stress, you’re more likely to reach for junk foods filled with sugar and/or fat.
If you live with chronic stress, your cortisol levels remain high for long periods of time. The result? You may notice your weight creeping up.
Fortunately, a nutritious diet filled with a few stress-busting foods may help reduce levels of cortisol and lower blood pressure. This can help you better respond to stress and makes it easier to keep your weight in check.
Add these stress-busting foods to your diet:
You already know that healthy eating helps lower your risk for some chronic diseases. Why not let a healthier diet also help lower your stress level, too? In addition to diet, talk to your doctor about other lifestyle changes that may help reduce stress, like exercise or meditation.