Eating a balanced and nutritious diet is the best way to prevent stress. Did you know that you can improve your symptoms by consuming certain foods?

Stress, anxiety and nerves can certainly have a very negative effect not only on our health, but particularly on our weight. In fact, when we are stressed, nervous or anxious, the autonomic nervous system is activated, which among other things controls the different muscles involved in digestion.

For this reason, it is very common that while some people feel a reduced appetite when they are nervous or stressed and seem to find themselves in a constant feeling of satiety, others that appetite increases voraciously, so that they tend to calm the nerves by eating.

But the usual thing is not to eat more, opting for healthy foods. On the contrary: you eat more, but your nerves tend to influence the fact that your chosen foods are highly caloric, either very high in sugar or fat (pastries, cookies, hamburgers or pizzas, salty snacks).

Our health, both physical and mental, depends to a great extent on the type of diet that each one follows. Hence mainly derives the importance of diet in the treatment and prevention of stress. That is, there are foods whose nutritional composition can greatly help in the control – and reduction – of the symptoms that appear when we are stressed.

Among other aspects, the nervous system is especially vulnerable to the lack of a  certainly adequate food routine that stimulates the proper functioning of the different and diverse nerve cells. In order to maintain a healthy mental health, it is necessary to maintain a balanced diet, rich in both grilled or cooked meat and fish, fruits, vegetables, legumes, cereals and nuts.

Not surprisingly, recent research has shown that diet can be a very important factor when a person can act in one way or another in a stressful situation. In other words: a balanced diet helps not only that we maintain good physical health, but also that, in a certain sense, we can respond better to the different situations that our day to day offers.

Why can stress make us gain weight more easily?

If at any time you have suffered a period or time of stress that has more or less lasted in time, it is quite likely that you have verified in your own meats how the scale has varied enormously, and more possibly, in a negative way, increasing your weight.

The truth is that although some people stress and nerves can cause their stomach to “close”, the most common thing is that the opposite happens: that is, to calm that nervous tension and that feeling of anguish, we tend to eat more by choosing foods with a higher sugar and fat content (and therefore in calories).

There are different reasons that explain why stress can make us gain weight, and also easier:

  • Increased secretion of cortisol:  Or, which is the same, our body tends to store a greater amount of fat. Why? When we feel stressed or anxious, our body secretes cortisol, a hormone that sends different signals to the body to release glucose into the blood. However, since we don’t really need to use that extra volume of glucose, we end up storing it in the form of fat, especially in areas such as the waist and abdomen.
  • We eat more:  On many occasions when it comes to relieving that tension and anguish, it is very common for our appetite to increase voraciously and we eat more, choosing for it actually unhealthy foods. If on the one hand we tend to eat more, and on the other, we also choose foods with high caloric content, it is clear that we will tend to gain weight, especially if we do not burn it by practicing physical exercise.
  • Increased bloating:  Believe it or not, stress can also be a cause of constipation. This is especially due to the foods we choose when we are stressed. As we have mentioned, it is more common to opt for higher calorie foods, leaving aside healthier options such as fruits and vegetables. Also, we tend to drink less fluids (particularly water). As a result, the blood supply to the intestinal tract is reduced.

The best diet against stress: very suitable beneficial foods

Foods high in vitamin C

As different scientific studies have shown, in situations of stress and anxiety, our body’s needs for vitamin C increase considerably. In addition, this vitamin has been shown to reduce the negative effects of stress on both physical and mental health.

For this reason, in times of stress, it is best to follow a diet rich in foods with vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, tomato, lettuce, peppers, kale, broccoli or guava, among others.

Foods rich in carbohydrates

Although demonized in many diets (many of them actually poorly nutritious and inadequate), the truth is that carbohydrates are essential for our body, and essential in any varied, healthy and balanced diet.

It is essential when it comes to avoiding compulsive eating when we are stressed, since maintaining a diet rich in carbohydrates is the best way to guarantee an adequate supply of glucose to the brain.

It is advisable to consume between 5 to 6 servings of carbohydrates, especially complex carbohydrates, which we find in foods such as whole grains, legumes and potatoes.

Foods rich in B vitamins

In times of stress, with group B vitamins, practically the same thing happens as with vitamin C: our body consumes them more quickly, so that during these times a greater contribution of these nutrients is referred. In addition, we must take into account something fundamental: they are essential when it comes to keeping our nervous system in an optimal state.

The best foods? Whole grains, nuts, legumes, fruits, brewer’s yeast, eggs and wheat germ stand out.


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