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Healthy eating when you're stressed

It’s widely joked about on social media but in reality, there is a great deal of truth to the term ‘stress eating’. Stress, the hormones it releases, and the effects of high-fat, sugary “comfort foods” push people towards overindulging in times of crisis. 

We’ve all been there before, especially when we’re busy, under pressure and our emotions are running a million miles an hour. Throughout these times eating healthy can be a hard habit to manage, however, moderating your diet and eating healthy can lower the negative effects of stress on our bodies. 

Include these essential nutrients in your diet next time you crave a snack and feel your body reap the stress reduction rewards.

Omega 3 (Fatty Acids): Fish such as salmon and tuna as well as nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds, walnuts and almonds are all rich in omega-3 fatty acids. They have shown to reduce the increase of stress hormones and also assist with heart disease.

Vitamin C: Foods high in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli and capsicum can lower stress levels and boost the immune system. Vitamin C can help lower cortisol (a common stress hormone) and blood pressure during anxious situations.

Magnesium: Maintaining our levels of magnesium is necessary for avoiding headaches and fatigue. Increased magnesium consumption has been proven to assist with the quality of sleep. It’s best taken via an oral vitamin however there are many healthy foods rich in magnesium like leafy greens (spinach & kale) salmon, legumes like soybeans and chickpeas.

Complex Carbohydrates: These include the likes of whole grains, fruits and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, apples, berries and bananas. Complex carbohydrates like these can encourage the brain to increase serotonin levels and stabilize blood pressure which contributes to stress reduction.

Feeling snacky? If you feel like you need comfort food snacks some healthy alternatives include - dark chocolate, nuts, berries, yoghurt or even homemade popcorn. 

Ensure you eat regular meals, have healthy snacks on hand, have a routine, eat mindfully and of course be flexible when needed. (It’s OK to have that glass of wine or go out for a pizza) - everything in moderation.

If you’re looking for some other ways to help combat your stress check out our latest blog post on ways to make your mental health a priority.