Tackle Stress with What You Eat

Stressed much? Believe it or not, what and how you eat can have a direct impact on how well your body handles the stress in your life. And when you’re already stressed to the max, the last thing you need is for your body to be working against you!

Here are six tips for using good nutrition as a way to better deal with stress, courtesy of Deborah Reber’s book for teen girls, Chill: Stress-Reducing Techniques for a More Balanced, Peaceful You:

Get Balanced:

Don’t go extreme when it comes to food. Too much or too little of something (carbs, sugars, fats, etc.) will make your whole body feel out of whack.

Drink Up:

Drinking plenty of water keeps your brain sharp and alert (in contrast to the fuzzy brain you can get from stress) and helps keep your digestive process going smoothly (countering another negative side-effect of stress).

Eat Breakfast:

Yes, it really is the most important meal of the day! Plus, the American Dietetic Association says breakfast eaters “concentrate better, solve problems more easily, and have better muscle coordination.”

Stick to Healthy Snacks:

If you’re a stress eater, go with purposeful snacks whenever you can – you’ll be less likely to get your body off-balance or go overboard with the sugar or fatty foods you may be tempted to down. Popcorn, apples, carrots, trail mix, hummus and pita, and fruit or energy bars are all good options.

Carb in the Afternoon:

Believe it or not, having a carbohydrate-based snack in the afternoon (popcorn, pretzels, a piece of toast) can actually create more serotonin in your brain. This natural stress-relieving chemical in your brain typically hits its lowest levels in the afternoon.

Get Fibered Up:

Eating high-fiber foods like whole grains, fresh or dried fruits, and raw vegetables can keep your digestive system flowing smoothly. And since a side effect of stress can be digestive problems, a little fiber can make a big difference.