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How To Avoid Stress Eating

April 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 169

We've all had times where food soothes our tensions, helps lift a bad mood, even passes the time, and in a strange way, such indulgences do bring us happiness... a quick boost because the intake of simple carbs triggers the quick release of serotonin, a mood elevating hormone produced by the brain.

We learn to associate the good feeling with the less than healthy food or eating pattern. What's more, the intake has set off a chain reaction that causes all kinds of trouble for the body, leaving you feeling sluggish and a bit off. That's all before the sugar crash.

Dietitians explain that in the past people had to be active to live... but today we're all less active, more stressed than ever before, and bad food choices are all too convenient. While we might think that all the sugar we're eating goes to our cells for energy, and certainly some does, the rest goes straight to fat cells... nearly always adding inches to the waistline.

Your brain becomes accustomed to eating when stressed and creates reward pathways... so that by mid afternoon you're craving something sweet. This is when you're most vulnerable because willpower alone isn't enough to fight the pull of those reward pathways. Experts suggest eating the correct combination of food, at the right times and your body won't be as taxed... and will be able to cope with stress better.

You'll also need to work to create new pathways... a new pleasing memory. Doing this helps you increase hormones responsible for happiness (serotonin and dopamine) and bring down the hormones responsible for stress (cortisol and adrenaline). Here are some smart suggestions of how to fight stress eating...

- Eat complex carbs - while all carbs encourage the brain to secrete serotonin, complex carbs are more slowly digested, keeping your blood sugar levels steady.

- Crunch on veggies - raw vegetables like carrots, celery or radishes are good for you and good stress relievers too. The crunching action releases tension stored in the jaw.

- Eat the right fat - choices that have lots of omega-3 fatty acids (flaxseeds, walnuts, pine nuts, tuna, salmon) help manage fluctuations in stress hormones and also offer protection against mood disorders like depression. Omega-3s are key to brain function... and if you're thinking clearly you'll be able to face, and cope with stress better.

- Get more vitamin C - eating foods like citrus fruits helps lower stress hormone levels and increase the immune system too. This is important as our immune systems are often not working at their best when we're dealing with stress.

- Drink green tea - as studies have found an amino acid naturally found in green tea has a calming, not drowsy, effect. The bonus, it also helps to reduce high blood pressure, a well-known side effect of stress on the body.

Beyond what you eat, there are coping strategies you can use when the cravings hit mid afternoon. Get up and go for a brisk, two-minute walk outside in the fresh air instead. Or do breathing exercises such as ten deep breaths in and out to help bring down cortisol levels in your body. If you find that you are really hungry (as opposed to emotionally hungry), go for something healthy that's satisfying, delicious and nutritious.

And beware, that the light, low calorie ready-made "snacks" aren't the answer - these foods are loaded with additives and calories and not much else. Twenty minutes after eating them your digestive enzymes are looking for some sustenance and finding nothing. It's no wonder people aren't satisfied... and go back for more.

According to some experts food is not just a source of nutrition; it's also loaded with cultural and social values. Our beliefs about a particular food may influence how we behave.

For example, in a study where subjects were told to eat a doughnut or a banana which were equal in terms of calories and grams of sugar - the doughnut eaters reported feeling more negative about themselves after they ate.

In another study, participants were provided with a milkshake - with one group told it had a lot of calories, the other that it was low-cal. The subjects who thought they drank the high calorie milkshake were more likely to have a cake after. The thinking? Familiar to us all... you've already cheated so you might as well go all the way.

The ultimate message here on how to avoid stress eating isn't about quick fixes, but rather filling your diet with less processed, sugar laden foods and exchanging these for more natural, wholesome choices that are bound to have you feeling better, with lots of energy and a sense of well being that can't be beat. If you're having trouble making good food choices, or struggling with stress eating, a session with a registered dietitian could be a huge help.

FREE Bonus Secret Health Reports - For a limited time you can grab 5 FREE essential health reports from the Daily Health Bulletin. Click through now to discover more answers on how to avoid stress eating.

Source: EzineArticles
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Stress And Eating


How To Avoid Stress Eating


Emotional Eating


Eating When Stressed

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