How Stress Impacts Nutrition and What You Can Do to Manage It
Everyone deals with stress at some point in their lives. In fact, 75 percent of adults reported experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in the past month and nearly half reported that their stress has increased in the past year according to American Psychological Association. And because stress can wreak havoc on everything from our mental and physical health to our neurological and physiological functions, it’s no surprise that stress impacts what we choose to eat and how it affects our body. Here’s how stress impacts nutrition and what you can do to manage it.
When we’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed by deadlines and other factors we tend to engage in unhealthy habits such as:
- Drinking too much coffee to stay more energized
- Skipping meals due to lack of time management
- Eating mindlessly instead of being mindful causing us not to pay attention to portions
- Eating unhealthier foods due to the emotional comfort it gives during stressful times
- Getting dehydrated because you forget to drink water or ingest too much soda for energy
Because the stress hormone cortisol increases when we’re overstressed, it causes us to crave unhealthy foods that cause fatigue, weight gain, headaches, acne and other symptoms that make us feel less than productive. Without the right kind of fuel, our body cannot remain healthy during rough times causing us to be more susceptible to illnesses and for some, depression.
“Eating right is just as important as managing stress because vulnerability to stress increases with poor diet,” states Philip Rice, Stress and Health. Moorhead State University. Making healthy eating a priority during stressful times is an essential tool in staying healthy. Meditation, taking a walk, exercising, talking to a friend, or listening to music you enjoy are great ways to calm yourself down in stressful situations and keep your cortisol levels lowered. If you’d like to learn more about how stress impacts your nutritional habits or if you’d like help controlling your eating habits and managing your stress, please contact Right Nutrition Works today. Together, we can create healthier lives!
Prajakta Apte, RDN
Right Nutrition Works
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