Diet and Stress - Avoid These Foods To Reduce Your Stress Levels

Change your diet and stress will go down. If you want to reduce your stress, feel more relaxed, have more energy and probably live longer, then making some serious changes to your diet is the way to go. Cutting out some or all of the foods listed below from your diet will make a big difference.

Caffeine

Caffeine is contained in coffee, tea, products containing cocoa (chocolate, cakes, biscuits, etc) and cola drinks. Caffeine is a stimulant which can have the immediate effect of making you feel more awake and able to cope with what you have to do. The downside of this is that when you are stressed caffeine can be over-stimulating and increase your feelings of anxiety. Your sleep may also be disturbed meaning you wake up feeling tired and stressed before you even begin your day.

Caffeine is especially bad for children and is a good example of the connection between an element of a child's diet and stress levels. A child's liver is not fully developed until puberty and therefore struggles with detoxing the caffeine from the body. So please do not give your children tea or coffee (even with lots of milk in it). Also keep their chocolate intake to a minimum. Hot chocolate just before bed is not a good way to ensure a good night's sleep! Try chamomile tea with honey instead.


Sugar

High levels of sugar in your diet and stress levels have a connection. Sugar is contained in so many processed foods that it is often hard to find food products that do not have it in. Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, pasta, etc. are also turned quickly into sugar when your body digests them and have the same effect as sugar.

Eating sugar causes an almost immediate increase in blood sugar which will give you a feeling of energy. However, your body knows that a high sugar level is dangerous so it will react by trying to reduce it. To do this it produces insulin from your pancreas to take the sugar out of your blood as quickly as possible. When your blood sugar suddenly goes up, your pancreas will over-compensate by producing a lot of insulin. You then end up with low blood sugar which makes you feel tired and sluggish. Then you eat more sugar and the same thing happens again. As you can imagine this eventually leads to a very tired pancreas and a very tired and energyless you. Being tired means finding life much harder to cope with and, therefore, more stressful.

Children tend to eat a lot of sugar. It will have the same effect in their bodies as it does in yours. The difference with children is that high blood sugar tends to make them hyperactive. Once their blood sugar drops, they may find it difficult to concentrate. This results in children who behave badly and find it hard to keep focused. Hardly a recipe for success at school.


Bad Fats and Too Much Protein

The large amounts of saturated fat and poor quality protein found in fast foods and junk foods also puts stress on your family's health. These foods are largely lacking in the vitamins and minerals bodies need to digest and process what is in them. High fat foods will also depress the immune system, which will already be functioning less well if you or any of your family, are stressed. Avoiding these foods and getting enough of the vitamins and minerals bodies, young and old, need to function well will make your family feel healthy and energetic. Feeling good makes life more fun and everyone more relaxed.


Alcohol

Alcohol, like caffeine, can have a beneficial effect in small quantities. However, alcohol stimulates the production of adrenalin. If you are stressed, you are already producing excessive amounts of adrenalin. Adrenalin is designed to be released when there is a situation which requires you to run away or to fight. It helps to bring large amounts of oxygen to your muscles to give them extra strength. However, when adrenalin is produced continually, which it is when you are under stress, it causes anxiety, nervousness and irritability. Alcohol also stresses your liver which means that your liver cannot effectively remove the toxins which adrenalin produces. These toxins can then cause damage to your body. So using alcohol to help you relax can actually have the opposite effect in the long run.


When you are feeling stressed remember the link between diet and stress and think about what you can do to make a change for the better.

If you decide to reduce or eliminate these substances from your family's diet, please do so slowly. If you just suddenly stop a substance such as caffeine, it can cause some withdrawal reactions. Common ones are headaches and/or feeling jittery. These reactions will not last long but can be unpleasant. Cutting foods out slowly will lessen the chances of having an unpleasant reaction. Should be you experience reactions as you cut out these foods, you can be sure that they are having a bad effect on your health and are showing that your diet and stress levels are linked with each other.

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