Are you a stress eater?
Because I am, and I’m not even shy about it. While I completely acknowledge that food is not the solution to stress, I still find myself reaching out to the pound cake when the deadlines are close and I’m up at odd hours trying to get work done. How about you?
The fact that many people out there love the comfort of food when they’re going through the proverbial wringer made me wonder – are there foods that we can eat that might actually help us in times of stress? I reach out for sweets in particular, as opposed to savouries, when I’m stressed. Here’s why; apparently, sugar helps to surprise the stress hormone cortisol. However, it also works up your appetite, which means you tend to overeat (guilty). So after some research, here’s a short list of 10 perfect foods to bust your stress, or rather, eat when you’re stressed. Think high fibre and high energy, protein and calming effects. In no way am I legitimising stress or emotional eating, but there are times when only chocolate will do… read on!
In particular, dark chocolate. Known to boost immunity and induce pleasure, the flavonols found in chocolate can help boost immunity, reduce the body’s production of stress hormones and curb cravings.
The benefits of herbal teas can go a long way. In fact, I wrote all about it in the latest issue of Cravings!, out on the app store. Chamomile tea has a calming effect, while green and black tea contain antioxidants to prevent your body from harmful bacteria and contain caffeine, which can keep you awake and alert.
A while ago, I found the wonder of adding fruits to water in my own home instead of just having it at PS Cafe, and I have never looked back since. Dehydration is usually mistaken for hunger, leading people to overeat. To combat this, always remain hydrated by keeping drinking water fun! If you’re into being more experimental with your water than just adding lemon slices to it, try Padma Lakshmi’s Fairy Water. Brilliant idea.
Peanut Butter can calm anyone down – its not just the nutritional value of the ingredient, but also the childhood nostalgia it invokes. Always keep a jar handy, and if you don’t want to have it on toast (because, carbs.), then you can always use it as a creative dip for fruits and vegetables. You can even spread it on an apple slice!
Its always safer to make these at home, on your own, instead of buying it ready made from the stores. This is just so you can control the amount of salt and additives that goes into the dish. Simply roast chickpeas with your favourite herbs and spices and a little olive oil, if you like, in a 200 degree oven for about 20 to 30 mins.
Hummus and Veggies
I normally have hummus with almost anything I can find; bread, pita, celery, as a side to a salad even. I have a serious case of hummus on my mind, and here’s why its good for you: Hummus is healthy fat. Plus, if you pair with vegetables instead of carbs, the fibre fills you up and keeps you from reaching out for more snacks.
Build yourself a mini parfait if you’re in need of something to crunch on, with some fresh greek yoghurt, cut up fruit and granola. Dairy contains a welcome combination of both calcium and protein, which can help release those feel-good chemicals in your body to chase away anxiety and stress.
Just like the chickpeas above, have nuts as a viable snacking option. Pistachios and walnuts are great, while peanuts are to be avoided. Its best to have them dry roasted with no added salt – this helps to equip the body with better responses to stress. To up the ante, have this with dried fruits and perhaps some dark chocolate chips.
And there you have it folks, 8 stress busting foods that are healthy and don’t go straight to your hips. Try these, and tell me if you’ve got any new combinations that I can feature here! Happy snacking folks!