Sugar Does Not Reduce Stress: There are Better Ways to De-Stress

I have a friend in my Sunday Pilates class.  She is pretty awesome.  She works hard, works out like crazy and has lost a ton of weight.  She is in excellent shape, but she desperately wants to lose a bit more weight.  Yet, she is under a lot of anxiety and stress and tends to run to sugar for her comfort.  I am writing this article in her honor!

stress-eating

Things that are BAD for anxiety:

Going to sugar and carbs is a way for many people to deal with their anxiety.  However, it actually is counter-productive.  It is actually the worst choice for anxiety.  Sweets (including sugar, honey and corn syrup) makes us temporarily feel better.,Here’s why: Sugar is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. The absorption causes an initial high or surge of energy. But that surge wears off as the body increases its insulin production to remove the sugar from your bloodstream. The result: You’re left feeling tired and low.  It also makes you continue in a vicious cycle of SUGAR and STRESS!

Vicious_Cycle

Going to coffee isn’t going to help.  Instead, drink water because if you drink coffee, you are actually dehydrating.  Some people drink coffee and other beverages that contain caffeine (tea, cola, and hot chocolate) to help boost their energy levels. The problem is that caffeine has been shown to inhibit levels of serotonin in the brain, and, when serotonin levels are suppressed, you can become depressed and feel irritable.  Even mild dehydration can cause depression. Caffeine also can keep you awake, leading to stress and anxiety. Remember that you need to sleep well to be in a positive mood.

Going to alcohol is not good either.  Some people drink alcohol because it seems like a good way to ease anxiety and stress.  Unfortunately, the good mood is only temporary. In the long run, alcohol is a depressant. Like caffeine, alcohol is a diuretic, and it’s important to stay hydrated for a number of reasons, including mood. If you do drink, drink in moderation.

Processed foods, such as hot dogs, sausage, pie, cookies, and cakes cause anxiety or other mental health issues?There have been studies, people who mainly ate fried food, processed meat, high-fat dairy products, and sweetened deserts had a 58 percent higher risk of depression than those who ate “whole” foods such as fish and vegetables. So skip the processed foods and have fresh foods!

Here are foods that are GOOD for anxiety:

1.  Foods with L-tryptophan.  Tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin (a neurotransmitter, which helps you feel calm).  Foods with it include:

 turkey, chicken, bananas, milk, oats, cheese, soy, nuts, peanut butter, and sesame seeds. You can also take it by pill form in 5 HTTP, available in health food stores.

2.  Foods with Vitamin B.  Vitamin B (including thiamin or Vitamin B1, helps with mood.  A deficiency in B Vitamins (such as folic acid and B12) can trigger depression in some people.  You can also take it in pill form in a good B Complex formula.  Foods with Vitamin B include:

beef, pork, chicken, leafy greens, legumes, oranges and other citrus fruits, rice, nuts and eggs.

3.  Foods with carbohydrates will increase the production of serotonin in the brain.  However, you want to watch how many you get in order to not gain weight (50g to 100g a day to lose weight is recommended).  The rights carbs to choose:

Whole grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice, etc) and not processed choices like sugar, candy, white bread or white rice.  

Whole grains take longer for the body to break down, and release sugar into the bloodstream slowly. Processed carbs may give you an initial surge of energy, but that can be followed by an insulin rush, which rapidly drops blood sugar levels, ultimately leaving you feeling lethargic.

4.  Foods with omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA),  help improve mood and reduce risk of heart disease.  Foods with Omega 3s are found in:

salmon, tuna, lake trout, herring, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines.

Walnuts, chia seeds, flax-seed and basil.

5.  Greek Yogurt and Other High-Protein Foods:  Proteins helps stimulate the production of the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine, which, like serotonin, are neurotransmitters and carry impulses between nerve cells. Higher levels of norepinephrine and dopamine have been shown to improve mood, alertness, mental energy, and reaction time.  Good sources of protein include:

Greek yogurt, fish, meats, cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, soy, and lentils. 

And don’t forget that eating fresh fruits and vegetables, taking some “me” time, getting enough sleep, exercising and getting in foods with natural spices to reduce cravings (like cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cloves, or cardamom.) will all help reduce anxiety.

Another trick is taking 200 mg of L-Theanine to reduce anxiety.  It really works!  http://altmedicine.about.com/od/greentea/a/Theanine.htm  It is available at any health food store and it is amazing.

Follow these tips and you will feel better and lose weight too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s