As most people know, eating a healthy diet is great for your body. It promotes good nutrition and gives you energy. But can a healthy diet relieve stress too? In this article I want to look at whether the foods you eat can make an important contribution to your stress management efforts and is it a technique that you should consider yourself.
According to most health experts, eating a diet of fruits and vegetables can improve your health and prolong life. In my own quest to get healthy many years ago, I decided to change my diet and focus on eating much more of the foods I knew were healthier choices. The foods I was eating made me feel a lot better, and as a result, reduced my stress. The food I had been eating up until that point was high in fat and cholesterol.
Foods that are high in cholesterol have a tendency to make you feel stale and lethargic. This is why it’s so important to eat these foods in moderation. Many people make unhealthy food choices because they taste good and give a brief sense of a reward or an escape from stress. However, this “comfort eating” often leads to feelings of regret and a wish that you hadn’t eaten that fatty or sugary treat. The enjoyment of the treat is short-lived and actually makes you feel worse in the longer term.
Eat slowly. When you eat slowly, you really get to experience what you are eating, and as a result, you feel more satisfied when you’re finished.
When you eat healthily, you feel better. You have more energy, and not surprisingly, you are happier. Healthy foods have the tendency to make you feel happy. And this would only seem natural. A healthy body is a happy body, right?
The important thing to remember when using diet as a stress management technique is that some foods are better than others. As a general rule, fruits and vegetables make you feel better than a bag of potato chips or a corn dog. Throw in a piece of baked salmon or skinless chicken, and have a recipe for a healthy meal.
When you eat junk food or food that is heavy in grease, you may feel guilty afterward. You know you’ve gone off your diet, if you were on one, and you just consumed a bunch of nasty substances, such as fat and cholesterol. One way to improve the food choices you make is to take a moment to actually read the ingredients of some of the things you eat. You might think you are eating something which is not too bad but when you check out the ingredients you will see lists of things like flavourings, colourings, preservatives and other stuff designed to just improve the appearance of the food. Would you actually choose to eat any of these things?
One of the best tips I have ever had for healthy eating is to focus on eating real food. Real foods are those that occur naturally in nature such as berries and plants. I also consider most meat and dairy products to be real foods.
In a nutshell (pardon the pun) real foods are things which haven’t been processed. That means they are completely composed of natural ingredients and don’t have any harmful additives or excessive levels of fat or sugar.
To relieve stress, consider eating a diet of fruits, vegetables and real food.
When you eat these types of foods, you will feel more energetic, and you won’t get hungry so quickly. Unhealthy snacks, like cookies, have very low nutritional content, so you get hungry more quickly afterward.
And of course, a lot of people suffer the inevitable remorse that often follows eating unhealthy food. This causes you to stress. When you eat healthily, you will find that you feel better overall.
Not only do you have more energy, but you feel good about yourself, because you’ve made healthy food choices.
Can A Healthy Diet Relieve Stress?
In stress management, it’s critical to clear your mind of negative thoughts. By eating healthy foods, you do not have to feel guilty and stress out.
When combined with regular exercise, and relaxation methods like yoga , eating healthy can have tremendous benefits that will in turn improve your mood.
One other thing to remember is to eat until you’re full. Don’t eat until you’re overly full, even if you’re eating vegetables. Believe it or not, you really can have too much of a good thing!
Don’t go hungry, either. Going hungry has the tendency to make you grumpy, and will put unnecessary stress on you.
In addition to helping lower cholesterol and shed inches from your waistline, some foods can actually reduce your stress.
In fact, drinking more water, at least 6-8 glasses a day, will help you feel full, so you won’t be tempted to snack.
Eat plenty of whole grains. Though many people say carbs make you gain weight, they are a great source of energy. Eaten in moderation, carbs help your body fight bacteria and help your brain stay healthy and alert.
If you’re looking for a low calorie meal that will make you feel relieve stress, try baking some chicken and steaming some broccoli. Cut a potato into slices and top with some cheese.
You will find as the evening goes on that you feel a lot more energetic and at peace with yourself. Be proud of yourself for eating healthily. A meal like this contains around 350 calories and stays with you for a long time.
The Best Foods To Help Manage Stress
- Dark Chocolate
- Fatty fish
- Citrus fruits
- Leafy green vegetables
The important thing to remember when selecting a diet to reduce stress is that you should eat what makes you feel good. If a food makes you feel sluggish and stale, pass it over and opt for an apple.
When combined with exercise, you will find that a healthy diet will reduce your stress levels significantly.
Not only will you get your body in form, but you’re taking a step in the right direction to keeping stress to a minimum.
Now go out there, and grab yourself an apple. Your heart and mind will thank you for it!
All the best!
By the way…
If you have not yet downloaded a free copy of my book “Simple Solutions For A Stressful Life” then you can get a completely free copy by clicking the image below