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Eating Right When Your Mood Is Wrong (Health)

Eating Right When Your Mood Is Wrong (Health)
When things go wrong at the busy advertising agency where Sarah, 26, works, she invariably heads towards her kitchen cabinets for something to eat to feel better. It’s usually food she would normally shun, like salty potato chips, tubs of high fat ice cream and bars of chocolate.
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  • When things go wrong at the busy advertising agency where Sarah, 26, works, she invariably heads towards her kitchen cabinets for something to eat to feel better. It’s usually food she would normally shun, like salty potato chips, tubs of high fat ice cream and bars of chocolate.

  • Nyla professes she takes the same course when the tension of bickering children, nosey in-laws, and a fussy husband finally take their toll on her. Taking the ‘night off’, she kicks off her socks/shoes and delves deep into the most calorie laden food she can better. After all, there’s nothing like chocolate to make you feel better, is there?

  • Like Sarah and Nyla, most of us turn to these “comfort foods” in times of stress. What we don’t know, however, is that often the foods we choose to lessen our tension can actually have the opposite effect on our moods. Instead of relieving stress, often these foods actually work to exacerbate our tension and make us feel worse!

  • The problem lies, of course, in stress. Unfortunately, stress isn’t just a psychological state of mind. When you’re feeling stressful, your body doesn’t just sit still. It responds by releasing hormones that actually rob your body of vitamins, using them to support physical changes like tensing of muscles and the rise of blood pressure. Thus, at times when we’re experiencing anxiety, we are in special need of extra vitamins, which help bring our nerves and brain cells back to normal and relieve tension.

  • However, if you consume calories during stressful times that don’t come from nutritious foods – which we normally do – the already tight body resources will then be depleted even more quickly. Even a slight vitamin deficiency – from for example, a few days of overloading on chips and soda, will upset the nervous system and swell your stress.

  • So what should we eat when we’re feeling low?

  • Nutritionists have divided foods into two groups – food stressors; and food supporters.

  • For example, certain foods have brutal effects on the brain – for productivity, mood and mental energy. These are food stressors.

  • Food stressors include foods with high level of sugar, caffeine, alcohol and chocolate.

  • Too much chocolate can actually bring down your mood after the sugar level in your blood goes down again. Chocolate over indulgence is a double whammy because it contains both sugar and caffeine – both of which provide brief “jolts” of energy but leave you tired and listless after they drain away. An overdose of salty chips dehydrated the body and the brain, brining in fatigue and tiredness. High fat meals raise stress hormone levels and keep them high. So that night of binge eating with two tubs of ice cream and your favorite movie in the DVD player will actually make you feel worse!

  • But there’s good news. There are lots of foods to help fight your stress and uplift your mood. These are called food supporters. These include water, fresh vegetables, pasta, fruit and fish. These provide the necessary vitamins your body needs to fight against the invading stress hormones and calm your nerves. Bananas, baked chicken and potatoes, and healthy carbohydrates provide a healthy alternative. You could opt for a bowl of spaghetti with tomato sauce, or a bagel with jam. Dark green leafy vegetables are a must for inclusion in any meal. For something light, settle down under your duvet with a bowl of cereal or a wholegrain bread sandwich.

  • Food supporters help restore your systems vitamin deficiency and bring your nervous system back to normal. Just a light meal will help alleviate your stress symptoms and allow for a fresh, relaxed new day.

  • When the pressure is on, it’s difficult not to turn to junk food for solace. But sticking to a highly nutritious, low fat, low sugar, and low caffeine diet will not only help relieve tension and soothe the aching back muscles, but will also go a long way towards a healthier, more productive you.

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