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How to deal with stress with food

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Our response to stress is largely due to a surge in hormones that occurs under the influence of certain chemical processes in the brain. It is the brain that determines how we perceive stress. And hormones cause physical reactions. It turns out that even an unpleasant thought can cause a response from the body.

The main hormone that causes a storm in the body is adrenaline. It is produced by the adrenal glands and affects almost all types of metabolism. Its secretion rises sharply during stressful situations, a sense of danger, anxiety, fear, injuries and shock conditions. Under its influence, the glucose content in the blood rises, the pulse quickens, and a feeling of anxiety arises. The adrenaline rush is the immediate response hormone cortisol. He is considered a close relative of adrenaline, as it is also produced by the adrenal glands. Its task is to prepare our body for the action of stress. Being an anti-stress mechanism, it launches some protective processes, and suspends others. It is "with its help" that many in stressful situations increase their appetite. So the body builds up strength to overcome difficulties. At the same time, thanks to cortisol, the metabolic rate decreases, also to save the energy that will be needed to combat stress.

Chronic stress causes a constantly elevated level of cortisol. Outside of stressful situations, his indicators tend to rise during the day when we are active and need energy. At night, they decline, giving us the opportunity to relax and recover.

However, in a state of chronic stress, a constantly elevated level of cortisol does not allow us to take a breath and often causes sleep disturbance and insomnia. In such periods, our digestive system also sometimes fails. This can lead to a number of eating disorders: irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, constipation, and even gastric ulcer. This is due to irritation of the mucosa and malfunctioning of the smooth muscles of the intestines.

Chronic stress can also affect the body's ability to withstand diseases and infections. Surely you have noticed more than once that you are catching a cold or feeling very unwell after a busy period at work, moving, repairing, or such a joyful but troublesome event as a wedding.

Human nature is such that the instinct of self-preservation prompts us to seek an antidote to stress. In tense situations, some resort to the "help" of alcohol. Is a glass or two able to relieve stress and contribute to relaxation at the end of a hard day's work? Initially, alcohol acts as a stimulant of serotonin - a hormone of joy that improves mood. But regular and immoderate use of it can have the opposite effect. After all, alcohol, like stress, stimulates an increase in the level of adrenaline in the blood, causing irritation and tension. In addition, this, at first glance, an easy way to deal with stress can turn into a addiction.

The same can be said for caffeine. For many of us, morning becomes good only thanks to this “alarm clock”, which gives strength and vitality. Moreover, the principle of its action is approximately the same as that of alcohol. And over time, long and frequent use of coffee can also increase irritability and exacerbate symptoms of chronic stress. To prevent this, limit yourself to three cups of coffee per day. Try to stretch out pleasure, but not drink on the run.

Very often in stressful situations, gluttony becomes as bad a habit as smoking, alcohol abuse, or even biting your lips and nails.

Usually people are divided into two categories - those who stress get stuck, and those who, on the contrary, refuse to eat. Moreover, in the natural conditions of normal life, the former usually carefully control what they eat. And in a stalemate, they lose control, which, in turn, leads to even more stress. Since childhood, we know that food can not only saturate, but also bring pleasure (especially with sweets). This happens in the animal world. Scientists have proven that when animals experience stress, they too begin to seek solace in food. As a “sedative,” they give preference to their favorite treats. If your “favorites” can lead to weight gain or guilt, try to find new, more useful joys. For example, replace eating chocolate with hiking in the fresh air, relaxing baths with sea salt by candlelight, and nobody canceled the shopping therapy.

It is not surprising that all these consequences of chronic stress (heart palpitations, vasoconstriction, unauthorized production of insulin) cause many cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, gastrointestinal diseases and even obesity. But we can (and must!) Make a difference by carefully reviewing our diet. Here's what the renowned Australian nutritionist Fiona Carrusers recommends for us.

It’s best to recharge us with energy for a long time products that contain long (complex, slow) carbohydrates and with a low glycemic index (GI): whole grain bread, cereal, fruit, cereals. Since the breakdown of long carbohydrates (into glucose) occurs gradually and smoothly, an excess of blood sugar is eliminated.

Short (simple, fast) carbohydrates (sugar, cakes, sweet soda) can give an instant burst of energy, but have a high glycemic index, respectively, when consumed in food, blood sugar levels sharply increase. This, in turn, can cause irritability and trigger mood swings, similar to stress symptoms. In addition, excess glucose almost immediately turns into fatty deposits.

Protein products (lean meat, fish or legumes) in a company with carbohydrate foods help regulate blood glucose levels, and are also necessary for the growth and development of muscle mass.

For the proper functioning of all body systems, it is important to reduce fat intake. However, you should not completely exclude them from the diet. Make sure that the right fats regularly appear on your table: red fish, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, unrefined vegetable oil (especially olive), avocado, flaxseed oil, nuts. These products are well absorbed and saturate us with elements necessary for our health.

To obtain the desired result (namely, excellent health), all these components of a balanced diet should be supported by vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants - vitamins A, C and E - valiant fighters with photoaging of the skin. They protect us from the damaging effects of free radicals formed under the influence of ultraviolet radiation. Records for the content of vitamin A - the liver, especially marine animals and fish, butter, egg yolk, cream, fish oil. Most vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, cereals, legumes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, rosehip berries, sea buckthorn, cherry, mountain ash, apple and pear seeds. You will find vitamin C in fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Rosehip, sea buckthorn, blackcurrant, red pepper are real pantries of this vitamin. But in animal products, this vitamin is absent. Keep in mind that the content of all vitamins, and especially vitamin C, in plants depends on the variety, growing area, soil characteristics, lighting, etc. In addition, the content of vitamin C decreases during storage due to the presence of an enzyme in vegetables and fruits ascorbinase, which destroys ascorbic acid.

In addition to vitamins, an important role is given to trace elements. Magnesium is necessary for the proper functioning of the heart, and also increases working capacity and stress resistance. Apricots, peaches, cauliflower, tomatoes and potatoes are especially rich in them. Zinc supports the health of the immune system, participates in the healing of wounds and helps shape the structure of proteins and cell membranes. Sources of zinc are beef, shellfish (crabs and oysters), chicken and turkey. Calcium is responsible for the health of teeth, bones, the development of the musculoskeletal system and blood coagulation. It is found in cottage cheese, dairy products, dogrose, almonds, sesame seeds, and legumes.

Alas, we cannot completely eliminate stress from our lives. But thanks to a balanced diet in our power to reduce its effects and increase stress resistance. For uninterrupted supply of “fuel” to the body, three meals a day are necessary. The main rule: eat often, little and at the same time slowly. By the way, if you skip a meal in the hope of losing weight, then you are on the wrong track. The body regards such experiments as unnecessary stress, believing that it is starved and immediately turns on the “energy saving” mode. Therefore, he is determined not to waste, but to store (that is, put aside “fat day” in the form of fat) as many calories as possible.

In order for food to bring benefits and pleasure, and it takes a minimum of time to cook, try:

  • draw up a menu several days in advance
  • be sure to have a snack if you were not able to fully eat. Make sure that you do not have long breaks between meals (maximum 4 hours).
  • pack the refrigerator well in advance. It should always be: vegetables, fruits, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, lean meat.
  • Do not forget to replenish the supply of cereals, pasta, spices and sauces.

WATER. Accustom yourself to drink an average of 2 liters of plain still water per day. Every morning, start with a glass of non-cold lemon water. It is good for both skin and digestion. If you cannot deny yourself coffee, then drink a glass of water with it (this way you will protect the body from oxidation).

OATMAN, sir. Porridge on the water is a great start to the day. Even if at first you will not feel pleasure from it, over time you will get used to it, for which the body will thank you immediately. Show gastronomic imagination and diversify porridge with fresh berries, dried fruits or nuts.

BANANAS. These fruits are good as a snack. They contain a large amount of fiber (extremely useful for digestion) and magnesium (strengthens the heart muscle).

RED / ORANGE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruits. They have a low glycemic index, contain a large amount of fiber and antioxidants.

BEANS - a source of fiber, vegetable protein and vitamins.

LEFT MEAT AND SEAFOOD provide us with protein, zinc and omega-3 acids.

NUTS - record holders for nutrient content.

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