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Is Stress Impacting Your Diet?

By Sara Butler

Everyone has had a bad day and then dug into a pint of ice cream or ate more than their fair share of pizza as a result. Stressful days happen and sometimes a hot fudge sundae seems to be the cure. However, turning to your favorite comfort foods in times of high stress isn't a healthy option -- and it's not a long-term stress-reducing strategy, either!

The emotional tension you feel when you're stressed out can be large or small, depending on life circumstances. How you deal with it is really what will make all the difference, especially when it comes to your diet. Here's what you need to know about stress and your diet, plus a few tips to help you cut out the comfort foods when feeling emotional and deal with stress the right way.

All About Cortisol

Cortisol is something your body produces when you're under a lot of stress, which is why you may hear it referred to as "the stress hormone." The release of cortisol is what may make you crave comfort foods such as high carbohydrate or sugary treats. This is due to the increase of insulin your body releases as a result of the increased cortisol levels.

When your blood sugar drops because of the insulin released, then you start to crave certain foods such as carbohydrates. If you can reduce your stress, then you can reduce the amount of cortisol in your system and have better control over your blood sugar too, which can help with comfort food cravings.

How to Deal with Stress

There are some easy ways you can work to combat stress in your everyday life that will hopefully work to reduce your cravings for comfort foods. These include:

  • Exercise - This is one of the best ways to control stress in your everyday life. Regular exercise, even something as simple as a 20-minute walk, can help you to sleep better and release endorphins that will help to fight back against cortisol and stress.
  • Cut some caffeine - You may be drinking too much caffeine, which can make you feel anxious or nervous. Coffee and tea can be healthy in moderation but know your limits.
  • Start a journal - Something as simple as writing daily in a journal can help relieve anxiety and stress by focusing our thoughts and thinking about the positive things in it.

Talk to your chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic about effective ways to deal with the stress in your life.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Montgomery, Ala.

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