Do you ever find yourself mindlessly polishing off an entire pack of biscuits or chips while working?
Or a pack full of popcorns while watching TV . Or back to back coffee or tea while trying to finish a deadline. Well, then you are not alone. Research has shown that, when brain detects threat, no matter if it’s a lion, an upset boss, a huge credit card bill, it triggers the release of a hormone called cortisol which is also known as the stress hormone. We all talk about stress and being stressed but do we know what exactly is stress. Stress is defined as the inability to cope with a threat to your well-being which results in a series of responses and adaptations by your body. Stress can lead to poor health and injury.
If you have the following symptoms you might be suffering from stress
Elevated heart rate
feeling for no specific reason
pain in the neck or lower back.
Relationship between stress and weight gains
Continuous release of stress hormone “cortisol” turns your overeating of palatable foods into habit. So while you sit on the couch worrying about how to pay your bills or the office deadlines, your brain is going to tell you to reach for that plate of cookies or fries as this hormone makes you crave for unhealthy options likes snacks containing high sugar, fat content.
Stress and metabolism
Do you feel like you are putting on weight for no apparent reason even if you are eating the same food and amount of food and working out as you always have?
The answer my friend is STRESS.
Too much cortisol can impact your metabolism causing more weight gain than you would normally experience. This makes dieting and getting results extremely difficult.
Prolonged stress can also alter your blood sugar levels causing mood swings and fatigue.
If you see these symptoms it’s time for u to get up and deal with the stress and get rid of it because chronic stress is a risk factor for 50% of diseases since stress has a dramatic effect on your immune system.
Once you manage stress it will have various benefits for your body
It will keep you calm when things go wrong. It will help you stay focused and it will prevent illness.
Some of the common ways to release stress.
1) Exercise is one the most important tool to combat stress
2) vitamins and minerals in adequate amount
3) reduce caffeine intake
4) sharing with friends and family
5) practice gratitude for things you have in life
6) write down feelings and emotions on a piece of paper
7) light a scented calming candle before you sleep.
8) don’t miss an opportunity to laugh
9) learn to say NO to some stress factors that are in your control
10) deep breathing and practice yoga
Foods that help to combat stress
almondsbanana carrot spinach salmon fish eggs legumes turmeric dark chocolates avocados chamomile tea
(Monisha Ashokan is a clinical nutritionist at Nourish Me, Delhi)