Using Food as Medicine to Address Stress

Nutrition Winnipeg - Stress Winnipeg

Can you relate to this photo?

We’re stressed out, right? Well, the increased cortisol produced by stress makes us hungry - hungry for carbs, sugar and fat (and not the good kinds, okay?). If we follow suit and eat like this all the time we start to feel fatigued (and in desperately hoping for a caffeine boost), moody and may even start to find that we don’t think as clearly (some will call this ‘brain fog’). And stress forces our body to utilize a significant amount of nutrients to produce the energy we need to respond - even if our stress is created by sitting in front of a computer all day. 

Inflammation is also a biomarker of stress. Hänsel, Hong, Cámara, and von Känel demonstrated that the following all contribute to stress and therefore impact proper functioning of the immune system: work-related stress, stressful events experienced during childhood, stress associated with living in poor socioeconomic conditions and stress associated with caring for another. (1)

One of the best ways to address stress? 

Use food as medicine. 

To start simply, lower your red meat (beef, pork, lamb, goat) intake, eat complex carbs instead of simple carbs, ensure appropriate protein intake, and incorporate more healthy fats. Even mechanically, crunchy, raw vegetables can help release a clenched jaw as you chew. (2)

Stress is so multi-factorial - but you have way more control than you give yourself credit for. 

Reference(s):

(1) PMID: 20026349

(2) PMID: 25455067

Photo credit: @dribbble

 
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