Proper diet and nutrition are the pillars of health and wellness in the body and mind, so it should come as no surprise that what we eat can impact our mood and stress levels. Here are the most important foods to avoid if you are feeling stressed.
Packed with sugar and caffeine, energy drinks are one of the worst things to consume, especially when you are stressed. The extra boost in energy comes at a high cost to your physical and mental health. A single energy drink can contain as much caffeine as three cups of coffee and as much sugar as the recommended sugar intake for a whole day. The coffee jitters combined with the sugar crash are burdensome to the body and lead to added stress. In addition, caffeine impacts sleep patterns further exacerbating stress levels.
Although moderate consumption of coffee has been linked to a mild increase in serotonin production which can result in mood improvements, studies suggest that drinking coffee while stressed has the opposite effect. Coffee is known to increase the level of cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. In addition, caffeine blocks adenosine receptors in the brain. Adenosine is responsible for inducing feelings of drowsiness and functions as part of the body's natural system for initiating rest. By inhibiting adenosine uptake in the brain, caffeine causes insomnia – resulting in increased stress.
Candy and sugar
Eating sweet treats might temporarily help improve energy level and mood by increasing insulin in the blood stream, but that spike is short lived as the blood sugar comes crashing down immediately after. In addition, studies have shown that processed sugars increase cortisol production in the body (that stress hormone), making it one of the most important items to eliminate from your diet when you are stressed.
Most of us believe that a glass of wine is harmless and can help reduce stress. Turns out it has the opposite effect! A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that although alcohol consumption is linked to reduced anxiety, there is a direct correlation between alcohol consumption and increased cortisol production in the body.
The negative impact of processed foods on the body is well-documented. When it comes to stress, studies have shown that the high salt, hydrogenated fat, refined carbohydrates, and artificial additives in processed foods disrupt blood sugar and insulin balance resulting in elevated cortisol levels.
Foods You Are Allergic To
The link between food allergies and stress is a fascinating subject on its own. Not only does eating foods we are allergic to increase body's stress response, but studies have shown that stress can also cause food allergies. The best course of action is to avoid foods that trigger a stress response from your digestive system. Most commonly this includes coffee, alcohol, dairy, spicy foods, soy, MSG, peanuts, wheat, and corn.
Not sure what foods you are allergic to? Try an Elimination Diet. Not only does it help you identify your sensitivities, but it will also give your digestive track a break to heal and reset.