I’m sure you’re aware that what you eat is an important factor to your overall health. But did you know that it can also have a huge impact on how stressed you get, as well as how you overcome stress?
What you eat is important, but also, how you eat (especially if you are a woman!).
Below are 5 tips on how eating habits can help you reduce stress. These are great areas to pay attention to if you want to feel stronger, more resilient, and energized day to day.
How to reduce stress: tips for how and when to eat
1. Start each day with breakfast
Have you ever skipped breakfast consistently and found that for a period of time, you feel super alert and energized? That would be your elevated stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. In the short term, it can feel so good! But your body can only sustain this for so long. If you overly rely on your stress hormones to feel good, you’ll soon find yourself in a depleted state of chronic stress with a whole list of health problems. Eating a balanced breakfast each morning gives your body the nutrients it needs to create energy and help you feel your best.
2. Eat balanced meals
I’m sure you’ve heard this one, but what does it actually mean to eat “balanced?” By balanced, I mean eating in a way that balances blood sugar.
For stable energy and to reduce stress, practice eating meals that have a combination of some healthy fats, some healthy proteins, and some healthy carbs (this includes snacks too!).
3. Pay attention to your body’s sensations at different times of the day
I used to get quite car sick (nauseous whenever I rode in a car). I’d also routinely feel quite anxious mid morning/mid afternoon. When I realized that anxiety and/or nausea were actually my body’s way of telling me I needed nourishment, my symptoms improved. It didn’t feel like hunger, but I learned to identify that food was what helped calm my body.
For you, it might be something else. Pay attention to how your body feels throughout the day. When you feel off, take note: what did I eat today? When was the last time I ate? Were my meals balanced? Am I eating enough? Drawing awareness to this, and experimenting with not only what you eat but also size of meals and meal timing can help you find what your body responds best to. Some people may do better with smaller, more frequent balanced meals. Others may find less meals work better, but they’re not eating enough or eating too much. Or you may find certain “healthy” foods don’t work for you.
To build awareness first you must learn to tune into body sensations that it can be easy to push through or ignore.
4. How you hydrate matters too
While it’s important to drink water and stay hydrated, there is such a thing as over doing it. Your body needs water, but it also needs electrolytes. Instead of just mindlessly chugging water each day to hit your hydration goals –which causes you to go to the bathroom more, further depleting precious nutrients–try to prioritize nutrient rich beverages. This includes coconut water, fruits and veggies, bone broth, and milk (to name a few).
This is especially important when you’re trying to manage stress, as stress burns through nutrients at a high rate. Whether you’re over-drinking plain water or not, in order to be resilient to life’s stressors, you need to regularly replenish minerals reserves.
5. Eat to support your metabolism
Metabolism gets slower as you age, they say. Yes and no. It is possible to improve your metabolism with strategic diet, exercise & consistency. A healthy metabolism is a sign of a healthy internal state equipped to do the work of building resilience to stressors. If you focus on eating to support your metabolism, you will reduce internal stress and build resilience. The following people are great educators in this space and well worth checking out!
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