Are You Using Food to Reduce Your Stress?
Some stress triggers are beyond our control and we have to find ways to deal with them. There are others that we can influence to make things easier on ourselves.
Your diet is one thing you can control. So, is the food you eat helping to reduce your stress, or is it working against you?
Good for Stress
- Oily fish
- Skinless chicken
- Low-fat dairy products
- Unrefined wholefoods – wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, oats
Bad for Stress
- Red meat
- Processed foods
- Sugary foods
- Junk food
These lists probably look familiar. When it comes to many aspects of health, the same foods keep cropping up as the good or bad guys.
The Bullet Points
Oily fish, such as Tuna, Herring, Sardines and mackerel contain Omega-3, which has a positive impact on the nervous system. This gives rise to the idea that eating fish makes you more intelligent. Helps to prevent against a range of other conditions.
Chicken, without the skin which contains the fat, is preferable to red meat but be careful of the source. Some supermarket chicken is water and chemicals and virtually no nutritional value. I personally couldn’t have a diet without red meat but keep it lean and avoid sausages and burgers.
After several years of skimmed milk, (less than 0.1% fat), normal milk or cream actually feel oily on my palate. And I never thought I would say it, but I am starting to prefer no or low meat versions of some traditional dishes such as chili.
Looking back, meals with high meat content did tend to make me feel sluggish and less ready to cope with things. There are an amazing variety of fruits available these days and everybody should be able to find something they like.
The bad list speaks for itself. I enjoy my wine and beer too much to cut it out completely but I do feel better drinking moderately. When I have a drink I savour it rather than letting it be a habit.
As for caffeine, you can buy decaffinated coffee that tastes good! Honestly! And we all know that ready meals and take aways are full of sugar, salt and chemicals to preserve them and make them taste of anything. They might give you a quick high but how do you feel later?
Do you really want to go from one instant buzz to the next when you could feel good all of the time. It doesn’t take a drastic change to your diet to get it working for you instead of against you. And the more you use food to reduce your stress, the better you tend to like it. You could soon be finding that the healthier options are seeming more attractive than the junk.