Each time we are feeling low or stressed out, it’s almost natural for us to grab a bag of chips or a bar of chocolate to help us feel temporarily better or to pick up our mood. Every person out there who binges on junk food, may be surprised to find out that there are reasons for this as well as healthier alternatives.
There are hardly few who donâ€™t crash onto the couch at home after a tough day with the best de-stressing pick from the refrigerator â€” whether it’s a pizza, fries, an ice cream, a burger, or a meat loaf â€” the comfort ironically comes in through any food that is rich, sugary or creamy. And technically, itâ€™s never our fault, since it is the body that really gets you to indulge automatically to beat the brunt of the day.
Studies have demonstrated that when rats are chronically stressed, they release of glucocorticoidsÂ (cortisol in humans) which makes them indulge in pleasure-seeking behaviors. Â This behavior includes eating high-energy foods, as findings suggest from a research studyÂ by the University of California. Yes, we’re not rats, but it’s thought that humans react with similar cravings. Â The high energy food that gives us comfort, more often than not have key ingredients in sugar and fat.
Comfort minus calories
De-stressing food or comfort food need not really spell the same once you have consumed all of it. The high-sugar and fat makes us pile pounds of guilt.
Once, the stress walks out of the window, greasy high-fat comfort food leaves us with weight gain. So, does that leave us with nothing in the kitchen that can bring true comfort and de-stress without the pounds to pile on?
As the book â€˜The Art & Science of Rational Eatingâ€™ puts it:
“Eating is always a decision, nobody forces your hand to pick up food and put it into your mouth”
Hence, ultimately, it all boils down to what you choose for comfort.
It is really possible to satiate your craving mind, treat your body and indulge in healthy comfort foods. (Yes, there is food that is indulgence yet healthy!)
Hereâ€™s the top-5 list:
- Beef: Donâ€™t be baffled, you are still reading about healthy de-stressing foods. This great source of vitamin B is a mood-stabilizer with zinc and iron. The health quotient comes in if you stick to organic and grass-fed beef.
- Berries: The passion fruit packs high amount of antioxidants like vitamin C. It is a stress reliever as it brings stress hormone cortisol to steady levels.
- Nuts: You can go nuts about nuts when you seek comfort in food. Binge on it as the rich source stress-fighting vitamin E, selenium, as well as omega-3 fatty acids.
- Leafy green veggies: Not really one of the hot picks but deserves a shot. These carry tons of the B-complex vitamins that avert stress, and are in fact mood lifters.
- Sugar rich fruits: While sugar delights will add weight, fruits like bananas give enough sweet to the tongue, minus any damage. Bananas are rich in potassium and carbohydrates that help the body to relax.