5 foods to avoid if you’re already stressed

What foods should be avoided when you are stressed? Regardless of our lifestyle, we all experience stress on a regular basis: work pressure, family worries, just keeping up with the kids’ school work or forcing ourselves to go to the gym.


Are all types of stress bad for me?

Not all types of stress are bad, some are catalysts for life changes or function punctually to provide the energy needed to complete a task. Nevertheless, repetitive and/or badly experienced stress is often harmful to health.


What are the effects of stress on my body and metabolism?

In a stressful situation, our body naturally responds with flight or protection reflexes. This triggers a host of psychological and physiological reactions such as a rise in cortisone levels. If this is beneficial in case of real danger (confronting a bear in the forest), maintaining your metabolism in this state too frequently can lead to serious health problems starting with weight gain, a reduced ability to fight against inflammation or to regulate blood sugar levels. Chronic stress also acts on the adrenal glands and, by overstraining them, can cause depressive, inflammatory symptoms or difficulty concentrating.


Are stressors always “external”?

As if that were not enough, stress does not only originate from the external environment, it can be accentuated by certain foods that have the same impact on the body. Knowing about these foods and regulating their consumption can reduce the effects of stress and the risk of related diseases.

What is the relationship between stress and sugar consumption?

Sugar is the first ingredient to, if not eliminate, at least reduce in case of stress. Under stress, the body releases more cortisol, a hormone responsible for balancing stress and blood sugar levels. This is how, when eating sugary foods, blood sugar levels skyrocket causing the body to release more cortisol to balance it out. Unfortunately, the increase in cortisol levels also has the effect of causing sleep problems, a weakening of immune capacities as well as headaches and a tendency to irritability. In addition, a blood sugar imbalance causes the same symptoms as stress such as anxiety and fear. Thus, reducing your consumption of added sugars present in pastries, soft drinks and other flavored dairy products helps regulate your blood sugar. Preferring natural sugars helps stabilize, promoting a balanced mood and better overall health.


Why should artificial sweeteners be banned?

Consumed in excess, sugar is already not necessarily an ally for health, but what about artificially “sweetened” foods? Instead of being composed of natural sugar, these products are made with artificial sweeteners that can lead to health problems such as headaches and even metabolic and cardiovascular system diseases. Taking these artificial substitutes can even lead to an addiction to high-sugar products by “reprogramming” the taste buds responsible for taste: hence the “cravings” for sugary foods. As if that weren’t enough, artificial sweeteners also cause indirect stress through their side effects. Aspartame, for example, which is found in many foods, drinks and medications, can cause migraines and mood disorders. Like other types of sugar, these artificial sweeteners are detrimental to blood sugar regulation.


How are carbohydrates harmful?

Although appetizing, refined, carbohydrate-rich processed foods do your body no good. Not only do they provide no nutritional value and function as “empty calories” but they also cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels which can promote irritability. Many foods contain refined carbohydrates, especially high-sodium ready meals. In addition to making you thirsty, excess sodium causes water retention, forcing the heart to compensate to maintain smooth blood circulation. Factors of an increase in tension, carbohydrates also cause tissue swelling and general discomfort, in turn promoting a feeling of stress.



How does alcohol affect stress?

If a glass of wine can help you relax, consuming too much of it has no health benefits and can, on the other hand, be a stress factor. Drinking alcohol acts on the secretion of hormones causing stress and anxiety.


Finally, alcoholic beverages generally have a high sugar content, which “doubles” the harmful effects in terms of stress. Taking refuge in alcohol to fall asleep better is also a bad idea. Although it “helps” sleep, alcohol on the other hand hinders deep and therefore restorative sleep. Result ? Difficult tomorrows… stressors.


How many coffees can I safely drink?

Learning to manage your stress does not imply completely banishing caffeine from your daily life. Drinking gallons of coffee, on the other hand, is an unwanted stress factor and, what’s more, can cause serious problems for the overworked adrenal glands. In addition, the stimulation of the nervous system caused by caffeine increases blood pressure and heart rate, symptoms of anxiety. In fact, the first instinct in times of stress should be to give up caffeine. Beware of “hidden” caffeine: Most teas contain it, as well as soft drinks, energy drinks and some painkillers. May your meat be your only medecine ! Hippocrates told us…


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