How What You Eat Can Affect Your Stress Levels

Dr. Purushothaman
January 17, 2014


Stress is unavoidable in our lives. And we all have our individual ways of dealing with it. However, some of us, for a variety of reasons, find ourselves dealing with continual levels of stress that never seems to let up. Short of being on anti-stress medications for days at a time is there anyway in which we can relieve ourselves of some of this anxiety? Some people think that dietary changes may offer an effective counterbalance to this problem.
So, the real question is how can a good and proper diet actually help you to relieve stress? The main reason is by ensuring that your body chemistry remains in balance. If given the proper foods and nutrients, the body is perfectly able to protect itself from the effects of stress. Conversely, the wrong foods can contribute to increased anxiety.
We know that, in small amounts, it is true that alcohol can relax you and relieve tensions. That's why so many people drink. However, when taken to excess, it can lead to feelings of anxiety. People with anxiety disorders are especially vulnerable to becoming addicted to it in an attempt to relieve their stressors.
As anyone who drinks a lot of caffeine knows, it is another food ingredient that can affect moods. This is especially true for those who are sensitive to caffeine. When they eat or drink foods with even a little bit of caffeine, it can make them jittery and nervous. But attempting to eat healthy can also bring its share of danger. For example, if you are a health addict, you have to be careful of herbs that you may be taking for their health benefits. Many herbs such as guarana, ginseng, and others have high percentages of caffeine or other stimulants that can play havoc with your nervous system.
A little known fact is the role that many of our foods play in our anxieties. Some can relax us, and others can make us anxious. And, some people are very sensitive to certain foods. These foods, even when taken in small amounts, can make them feel anxious. Unfortunately, the only way of finding out your particular food sensitivities are is to experiment with your body by taking or including certain foods in your diet and monitoring your body's reaction to them.
So, we know that the foods we eat have the capability of causing us stress. But, the reverse is true as well. Stress can affect your diet. We all can identify with friends who consume excess amounts of chocolates or comfort foods when going through their various states of depression. And, studies demonstrably show that when you are stressed out, you are much more likely to try to relive that stress with fast foods or junk foods.
As a matter of fact, a number of dieticians will even go so far as to blaming anxiety for much of the obesity in people. In other words, if you want to control your weight and prevent obesity, one way to do that is to focus on reducing your stress levels.
But, the real answer is simply to look for a balance of good foods in your diet. Doing so can keep your body's chemistry in balance and help in alleviating some of the stress.

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