Daily life has never been more stressful than it is today. The pressure to perform, to know, to do, to be...comes at us from all directions and all at once.
There is a direct relationship between stress and diet. When we feel stressed, our bodies produce a 'stress hormone' called cortisol, which causes most people to crave foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Fatty foods put a strain on our cardiovascular system which leads to more stress; sugar leads to depression and irritability; and salty foods raise our blood pressure and cause us to feel out of control with our emotions, compounding stress.
Stress also causes people to reach for caffeine, not only in coffee but in soda and chocolate. Caffeine increases our heart rate and blood pressure and leads to poor concentration. Choosing to ingest coffee and soda also results in not drinking water, which exacerbates the already fraught state of our mind and bodies.
Skipping meals is also common when feeling stressed out, which causes blood sugar fluctuations that lead to mood swings, fatigue, poor concentration and other negative consequences such as lowering our immunity (making us more susceptible to illnesses.)
Warning signs that indicate your diet is adding to your stress include: headaches, neck or back pain, irritability and feeling anxious after eating.
Our mind and body act as one. Foods loaded with vitamins and minerals give us clarity of mind and give our bodies the ability to better handle stressful situations. Fresh, whole, unprocessed fruits and veggies are the most nutritionally dense foods there are...another great reason to be eating mainly fruits and veggies.