The body has a very physical response to stress (think: muscle tension, blood sugar spikes, breathing changes, racing heart) as stress hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol pump through your system. Add an upset stomach and appetite changes, and you’ve got yourself a bad party.
According to the American Psychological Association, this “fight or flight” response is a biological process that was probably useful early on in the process of evolution—but not so much for modern-day stressors like traffic, tight deadlines, and dating problems. Because chronic stress can lead to chronic health issues, it’s important to get a handle on it ASAP.
Wolfing down a doughnut or demolishing a bag of chips might provide a temporary distraction. But these nutrient-poor, high-calorie foods can actually make you feel worsephysically. They may also trigger negative emotions, perpetuating the stress cycle. The good news is that healthy, nutritionally valuable food can have the opposite (positive!) effect. Over time, eating more of these foods can help your brain and body respond better to stress. Aim for a balance of protein, fat, and fiber to stabilize your blood sugar and give you important vitamins and minerals. Adding these foods to the menu may help you keep it together now and going forward.
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