Foods that Stress You Out!
By Sara Butler
Sometimes when you’ve had a bad day at work you just want to go home and eat an entire bag of potato chips along with a pint of ice cream. Don’t be ashamed, many people look to food to help soothe their stress. The problem is some foods may make your stress levels even worse and sabotage your efforts to maintain a healthy weight. Here are some of the worst foods you can eat if you’re stressed out.
This one may be heartbreaking to a few of you out there, but that makes it no less true. Coffee does have some health benefits, and while you may think it’s a great way to get focused when you’re working on a stressful project, the truth is it probably has the opposite impact.
Caffeine does have its place as a mood booster since it stimulates the production of dopamine in your brain. The problem is all that feel-good dopamine may just block other mood-boosting nutrients such as Vitamin B and Vitamin D. And since you’re probably not drinking just straight black coffee, all that added sugar can cause you to crash later, which will not only leave you hungry but searching out more sugar too -- and it's tough to finish that project when you've crashed.
Another heartbreaker, ice cream is on this list because of its high levels of refined sugar. Refined sugar increases stress hormones such as cortisol. It’s nearly impossible for your body to absorb all the refined sugar you eat in something like a serving of ice cream, and that causes your blood glucose levels to drop pretty dramatically. Your brain looks at this drop in glucose levels as a life-threatening response (think fight or flight), which stimulates the release of cortisol, which then stimulates your appetite, which then leaves you feeling even more stressed. It’s a vicious cycle, so forget the ice cream if you’re feeling stressed out.
This one seems rather innocent, doesn’t it? These little brown beauties are high in refined carbs and sodium, so they will increase your anxiety right along with your blood pressure. Since pretzels are so processed and have little to no fiber, they will cause your glucose levels to spike, and that – just as with ice cream – causes your body to release more cortisol. This leaves you grumpy, hungry and stressed out – and probably thirsty too. Munch on a better snack if you need some crunch, such as almonds.
It is true that you are what you eat. If you reach for processed snacks high in sugar when you’re feeling stressed, you’re creating a cycle of stress that can be hard to break. Have a nice spinach salad with some olive oil instead!