Why is it when we’re feeling particularly stressed, we tend to reach for the foods that will exacerbate our anxiety the most? It’s a proven fact that when the heat is on; the body is unrelenting in its craving for foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. Why?
Well you can blame the communication between your brain and body for your tendency to reach for snacks that will ultimately increase, not decrease, your cortisol levels in the wake of stress. This surge to the body thanks to the “fight or flight” response grants us temporary euphoria over the short term, but will end in a miserable pile of irritability, exhaustion, and headaches over the long term. So before you head to the vending machine or duck out for a donut to quench the stresses of the work day, check out the ten worst foods to eat when you’re feeling stressed…
1. Candy Bars
I’m often guilty of turning to chocolate myself after a particularly perilous day. I also tend to cave and go in search of chocolate when I’m in premenstruation (the days leading up to my period) as well as during menstruation. However, foods and treats that are high in refined sugar only increase stress hormones (i.e., cortisol) and send blood sugar levels soaring so high that a sugar crash landing is unavoidable not soon after.
Really, when you turn to refined sugar when you’re stressed, you’re just aggravating your stress levels. If chocolate increases cortisol levels, you’re actually flooding your body with stress hormone (your body’s natural flight or fight response) when you’re not in danger. Elevated cortisol levels will cause a super energetic feeling, followed soon after by a crash of energy due to the super fast absorption of refined sugars.