Oghomwen (Owen) Jones
Can the foods we eat cause us stress? Absolutely!
If you are thinking how can what we eat cause us stress. Think again. The main culprits here are processed foods. Alcohol too can cause our bodies stress. Stress causes our cortisol levels to rise resulting in food cravings.
Unfortunately the foods craved when we are stressed are usually the unhealthy overly processed variety…which are typically sweet, salty and fatty.
In summary stress can be caused by what we eat and stress can then cause unhealthy cravings. There is a direct correlation between what we eat and our stress levels.
These overly processed foods/drinks, do not provide our bodies with any essential nutrients and can also increase inflammation and the production of stress hormones. Inflammation can compromise our immune system. As we have become more aware, since the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a need to keep our immune system well to stay well and fight various ailments.
These are some of the ingredients, that we should keep an extra vigilant eye on:
This flour is processed with most of its fibre stripped. It is refined, resulting in the stripping of its outer layer. This causes it to get digested and absorbed quickly into the bloodstream, causing a rise in blood sugar levels. This releases cortisol into the body causing stress.
Too much salt, can lead to fluid retention, elevated blood pressure, hypertension. High blood pressure puts stress on our heart. Apparently too much salt can also cause our body’s calcium to be depleted. Excess salt is eliminated via urine, alongside calcium. This depletes calcium in the body. High levels of calcium in our urine can cause the development of kidney stones. Inadequate levels of calcium in our body leads to thin bones and osteoporosis.
This sugar, which is present in many overly processed foods can cause cortisol levels in our bodies to rise. Cortisol is a stress hormone which when elevated can make us anxious.
The truth is that we will do our bodies and general wellbeing, a lot of good abstaining from highly processed foods/drinks. The food giants have gone to and continue to go to great lengths to find the “bliss point” of these products. This is the amount of sugar, salt, fat etc. required to get people hooked. It is therefore no wonder that people often eat these foods excessively.
Clearly the foods and drinks we consume, contribute to our wellbeing or can negatively affect it. They determine whether we are healthy physically with our body weight, energy levels etc and emotionally with our mental wellbeing.
Alcohol affects the level of serotonin, the key mood hormone in the brain. It also has an impact on other neurotransmitters. This can worsen anxiety. Many people feel more anxious after alcohol wears off. Alcohol-induced anxiety can be long lasting, up to several hours, or even for an entire day after it’s consumption. Moderation is key with the amounts of alcohol consumed.
Exercise is a good stress buster. And there are various forms to enjoy and benefit from.
Let’s remember that we need our bodies well looked after, to be well and stress free in order to fulfil His unique purpose for our lives. That should be our ultimate goal.