How to fight off stress with food

Stress is a part of everyone's life. How we handle it determines whether it will make or break us.

Learn how to fight stress armed with the foods that you eat. Healthy nutrition can make a dramatic change.

Effects of stress

What does stress do to the body? For one it can change the habits that we already have. Let's say that you are under pressure because a big project is due at work. In order to stay up longer, you may drink more coffee or eat sugary snacks to spike the blood sugar and give you energy.

When the energy runs out, you eat more snacks. That can lead to weight gain over time if the stress is not managed. Too much weight can lead to a lack of energy overall.

As for the coffee, too much caffeine can lead to jittery nerves and lack of concentration. Neither of these will help you get your project finished but they can interfere with your sleep. Sleep is needed by the body to recharge and repair itself. Lack of restorative sleep can lead to a weakened immune system.

Weakened immunity means more diseases and conditions attacking you. The first one that we see in winter especially is more colds and flu. When you are healthy, that same cold may only annoy you for a day. When your immune system is down, it can sideline you for a week.

Food to the rescue

So how can food help you to fight back? For one your body will have a chance to rebound when you make better food choices. It can be a struggle, especially if you have relied on snack foods and fast food to get you through.

Chocolate - Chocolate (dark chocolate) is everyone's best friend. It can improve your mood. When your sense of wellbeing increases, you are better able to handle stressful situations successfully. It also strengthens your immunity. That keeps disease from attacking you in the presence of a stressful situation.

Water - Drinking at least eight glasses of water a day helps to detox and cleanse your body. When toxins are flowing out, your body feels lighter and healthier. The nutrients you put into it can do their jobs better and you have more energy for daily life. Drinking water before meals can help you to lose weight.

Avoid fizzy diet drinks as research hints these are linked with a low mood. Also avoid sugary drinks. Excess sugar is not healthy and, apart from producing metabolic syndrome, may make us older.

Vegetables - They contain most of the nutrients and minerals that we need. Whether cooked, steamed or raw, increasing your consumption of vegetables helps increase bone, heart, and brain health.

Fruits - When that sweet tooth kicks in, reach for fresh fruit with natural sugars. It stops the cravings that can sink your mood and your body. Blood sugar imbalances can lead to confusion and tiredness.

Are you trying to combat stress? Then put your best food forward in body and mind. Choose healthier foods and fight back.