Five tips for managing stress with a healthy diet


The economic and productive impact that COVID-19 has generated in the world is indisputable. But there is another factor that affects people’s productivity: the stress caused by this new normal.

Because families stay together all day at home, with constant changes in work and school hours, an inconsistent daily routine can increase anxiety and disrupt healthy eating.

This uncertainty can increase stress, which in turn can interfere with healthy diets and damage the body, affecting the immune system and making it even more difficult to protect against disease, says Susan Bowerman, senior director of Education and Health. nutrition in Herbalife. . Global Nutrition Education.

And since a healthy immune system depends on a nutrient-rich diet, good nutrition is one of the best defenses against disease.

Easier said than done, however, Bowerman admits.

Stress can also cause fatigue or depression; Therefore, healthy eating can take a back seat to fast or comforting foods, which are generally loaded with fat, salt and sugar. And if you choose caffeine to combat fatigue, it can also fail because it disrupts your sleep.

These high-calorie comfort foods can stimulate the release of certain chemicals in the brain that make us feel good, at least in the short term, and that we want to keep eating.

But a vicious circle develops: overeating can lead to weight gain, increased psychological stress and, in turn, to continue to overeat.

While you can’t get rid of stress, you can follow these five tips to help you manage your response to the disease.

Choose balanced meals. Try to include lean proteins, such as chicken, eggs, low-fat dairy, lean meats, fish, vegetables, or soy products, with every meal. Protein calms hunger and helps you stay mentally alert. Complete the meal with fresh fruit and vegetables and cereals.

Eat regularly and don’t skip meals. When you’re stressed, it’s easy to postpone or skip meals, but it will lower your energy levels and you may end up overeating when you finally eat. If stress reduces your appetite, try eating smaller portions more often throughout the day.

Avoid eating to reduce stress. Instead, a brisk walk or cup of herbal tea can help. If you feel like eating, hard, crunchy foods help relieve stress by exercising your jaw muscles. Try eating a handful of almonds, soybeans, or baby carrots as a snack.

Reduce your caffeine intake. When people are stressed, they often lack energy and turn to caffeine as an energizer, but it can disrupt sleep. If caffeine keeps you awake at night, drink decaffeinated coffee and tea.

Try to make your meal enjoyable, away from work and other sources of stress. If you eat at the table while you work or pay your bills at dinner, something needs to change. Set aside some extra time to calm down and relax while you eat; they are likely to eat less and have more fun.

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