Stress is one way that an individual's body responds to a situation. The stress response may involve mental, emotional, and physical elements. Some stress is considered healthy. Unfortunately, however, it is easy for stress to become overwhelming and cause significant health issues. These issues can be mental ones, though physical issues are also quite common. Managing stress is essential. However, it is vital to choose healthy coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, many individuals deal with increased stress by making unhealthy eating choices. Individuals may find that eating comfort food improves their mood temporarily. However, it also causes damage to their physical and mental health in the long-term.
Stress management for adults and children is vital. Thankfully, individuals have several options. Most individuals will experience success with natural stress management, including mindfulness for stress. Meditation and exercises to reduce stress are also options. Of course, some individuals will need cognitive behavioral therapy for stress. Consuming a healthy diet is also vital, and it starts with avoiding certain foods when stressed.
Individuals may find that diving into a quart of ice cream when they are feeling stressed soothes their emotions. However, it is doing significant damage to their body, both physically and mentally. The high sugar content of ice cream will cause an individual's blood sugar to spike. Even when individuals do not have type 2 diabetes, their blood sugar's sudden rise will cause a surge in their energy and, eventually, a crash. As the sugar is pushed to the cells in the body to be used as energy, those levels will abruptly drop and leave the individual feeling fatigued or lethargic.
This crash also affects the individual's emotional health by causing their brain to release cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone. It is responsible for inhibiting sleep, misdirecting immune responses, and increasing the craving for sweet or unhealthy food. Once the brain starts releasing cortisol to combat the increased sugar in the blood, a cycle of heightened stress and unhealthy food choices will leave individuals feeling increasingly worse.
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While most individuals think that they are doing themselves a favor by eating canned soup, there is more in it than vegetables and a hearty broth. There are two ingredients in canned soups that negatively affect the body. The first of those harmful ingredients is sodium. The average can of soup contains a minimum of one thousand milligrams of sodium. This is below the acceptable 2,400 milligrams of sodium allowed per day. However, most doctors recommend that individuals should keep their sodium intake at five to six hundred milligrams a day. Consuming too much sodium can cause hypertension, fluid retention, kidney disease, osteoporosis, stomach cancer, and even asthma.
Additionally, one of the chemical preservatives in many brands of canned soup is monosodium glutamate. While this compound is still considered safe under government regulations, it adversely affects the central nervous system. As a result, consuming too much monosodium glutamate can cause symptoms such as drowsiness, headaches, nausea, and chest tightness. Thus, when stressed, individuals should eat homemade soup that does not contain these harmful compounds. It may take more effort to do this, but it is worth it.
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It is not necessary for individuals to completely cut coffee out of their daily routine, even when they are stressed. However, individuals should be more aware of how much coffee they are drinking throughout the day. This is especially important when they are stressed, since this often means that they will drink more. The caffeine in coffee is a significant issue. Most individuals know that caffeine is a stimulant. This means that it increases stress levels instead of helping relax the body. Additionally, it triggers a response in the central nervous system, resulting in an increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and higher anxiety.
Drinking too much coffee throughout the day will also affect an individual's ability to sleep in the evening. Even if individuals do not have a problem falling asleep, the caffeine in their system may keep them from sleeping soundly, or it can cause them to wake up in the night. Ideally, individuals should only consume coffee in the morning. However, they should at least stop drinking it at least six hours before going to bed.
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When something is processed, it goes through a manufacturing line where it is ground up and has other ingredients added to it. This includes filling the meat product with chemicals and preservatives. Processed meat also tends to contain a significant amount of monosodium glutamate and sodium. Examples of processed meats include hot dogs and sausages, ground beef, deli meat, and jerky. Meat that is cut and immediately packaged does not go through this same type of processing. The additives can cause individuals to experience a drop in energy while also increasing stress levels.
Additionally, research has found links between frequently consuming processed meat and developing various chronic illnesses. Some of these illnesses include bowel and stomach cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, and heart disease. Individuals are also at a higher risk of other types of cancer due to the presence of sodium nitrite in the meat. Sodium nitrite is added as a preservative to keep the pink color and improve flavor. However, it is also a carcinogen.
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Many individuals consume fried food as comfort when they are feeling stressed. Examples of common fried foods include French fries, burgers, chicken, and onion rings. However, consuming these foods is not healthy, even if they taste satisfying when stressed. The oil used to fry these foods contributes to their unhealthy nature because it contains high amounts of trans fat. Cooking with olive oil reduces the trans fat content and makes the foods slightly better. However, fried foods are still unhealthy. They are higher in calories when they are breaded before being fried, which leads to an increased risk of obesity.
Research has also found that consuming a significant amount of fried food, particularly over time, doubles an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Evidence indicates that individuals who ate two or more fried meals per week were twice as likely to develop insulin resistance. Frying foods may also initiate a chain reaction that leads to the production of acrylamide, which is another carcinogen. This can explain why cancer is more prevalent in individuals who eat a diet that largely relies on fried foods.