Stress eating is typically considered a bad thing, especially in terms of weight loss. But did you know that eating well is the best way to overcome stress? In my last post, I discussed how the environment influences your metabolism and, in turn, your mood and your ability to deal with new experiences and stressors. The single most effective way to support your metabolism is through regulating your diet. When you’re feeling stressed out, it is tremendously important to eat a high-quality diet.
Nutrition’s Role in the Ability to Overcome Challenges
Proper nutrition is fundamental to the optimal state of your mood and your ability to respond effectively to stressful events.1,2 Being well nourished allows you to function better not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. With the right nutrition, a challenge that once seemed overwhelming can turn into something that feels achievable and even inspiring. I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed this in my clients. Once you begin eating right, you will be more capable of finding motivation. You will have the energy needed to help facilitate your ability to tackle challenges head-on, overcome obstacles, and achieve success.
Stress Eating Done Right
To achieve optimal brain function and improve your ability to handle stress, it’s important to eat a diet that promotes glucose metabolism and provides sufficient blood sugar.3-8 When you’re feeling stressed, skip the junk food and instead eat a diet high in fruits that are very ripe, sweet, juicy, and low-fiber. You can also eat salty foods to restore mineral balance, as long as they are low in polyunsaturated fats. Stay away from chips and nuts. Cheeses are also really good options because dairy contains high-quality vitamins, minerals, and proteins. An ideal combination for reducing stress would be a mix of fruit and salty cheeses.
As far as drink options, orange juice is a great choice.9 Another good option is a smoothie made with ripe fruit or fruit that’s been stewed and frozen. You can also drink warm milk with chocolate powder, salt, and honey. Under extreme stress, try a milkshake made with ice cream, milk, egg, salt, and espresso. Please note that you should never drink coffee when you’re undernourished or stressed, unless it’s combined with a high-calorie milkshake or meal.
With good nutrition and metabolism, you can overcome stress and achieve great things! Interested in learning more about best practices in health and nutrition? Sign up for my newsletter.
- Nakagawa T, Tsuchida A, Itakura I, et al. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor regulates glucose metabolism by modulating energy balance in diabetic mice. Diabetes 49 (Mar 2000): 436–44. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/49/3/436.full.pdf
- Owen L, Sunram-Lea SI. Metabolic agents that enhance ATP can improve cognitive functioning: a review of the evidence for glucose, oxygen, pyruvate, creatine, and L-carnitine. Nutrients 3, No. 8 (Aug 2011): 735–55. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257700/
- Baxter LR Jr, Phelps ME, Mazziotta JC, et al. Cerebral metabolic rates for glucose in mood disorders. Studies with positron emission tomography and fluorodeoxyglucose F 18. Arch Gen Psychiatry 42, No. 5 (May 1985): 441–7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3872649
- Constant EL, de Volder AG, Ivanoiu A, et al. Cerebral blood flow and glucose metabolism in hypothyroidism: a positron emission tomography study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 86, No. 8 (Aug 2001): 3864–70. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11502825
- Llewellyn-Smith IJ, Verberne AJM, eds. Central Regulation of Autonomic Functions, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 2011.
- Moreira-Andres MN, Black EG, Ramsden DB, et al. The effect of calorie restriction on serum thyroid hormone binding proteins and free hormone in obese patients. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 12, No. 3 (Mar 1980): 249–55. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6771066
- Ruhla S, Arafat AM, Weickert MO, et al. T3/rT3-ratio is associated with insulin resistance independent of TSH. Horm Metab Res 43, No. 2 (Feb 2011): 130–4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21104580
- Teves D, Videen TO, Cryer PE, et al. Activation of human medial prefrontal cortex during autonomic responses to hypoglycemia. PNAS 101, No. 16 (Apr 2004): 6217–21. http://www.pnas.org/content/101/16/6217.full
- Ertl AC, Mann S, Richardson A, et al. Effects of oral carbohydrate on autonomic nervous system counterregulatory responses during hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia and euglycemia. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 295, No. 3 (Sep 2008): E618–25. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18612042