You know that cutting down on sugar-packed desserts can help you control your weight, but you can’t stop eating. Your problem is very common among people who suffer from stress.
A study of Brazilian researchers conducted on 57 women, average age 33. Of those women, 31 reported being stressed and 26 reported being stress-free. The study showed that 77 percent of the stressed-out women reported craving sugar, compared to only 31 percent of the relaxed group (*).
Researchers explain that when we are stressed, hormone cortisol is released in our bodies, and cortisol increases appetite. And when appetite increases, we rarely crave carrots. Instead, we reach for sugary treats because these foods provide a serotonin boost (serotonin is a “feel -good” hormone that help people to stay calm and to feel relax).
When cortisol level remain high for long periods of time, our body will store fat—especially abdominal fat which is particularly dangerous because it surrounds vital organs such as the liver and kidneys (**). Abdominal fat is often linked to metabolic disturbances and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. It is also associated with breast cancer and the need for gallbladder surgery in women(***).
Stress also affects your health in myriad ways, including insomnia, hair loss, diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) … To keep a healthy body, you need to relax, and de-stress your mind and body.
Here are 3 simple ways you can do to lower your stress:
- Smell a scent
The scent of lavender, lemongrass, mint … will help you calm your nerves. Some drops of lavender essential oil, a bottle of orange scent shampoo, a grapefruit scented hand soap or a glass of chamomile tea… will help you create a more relaxing atmosphere at home. To create a corner of calm in your working place, simply put some orange, lemon or grapefruit peels on your desk. The smell of these fruit peels can help you to reduce stress and alleviate fatigue.
- Take a deep breath
Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness. Put one hand on your abdomen, breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Then breathe out slowly through your mouth. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation.
- Take a walk
When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins which help relieve pain and stimulate relaxation. Do take a walk in the park because researchers at Heriot-Watt University found that feelings of meditation were the highest when people were going through the green space (****).
(*) Click here for more details.
(****) Click here for more details about the research.
* Please do aware that all information on my site is not meant to take the place of advice by doctor, licensed dietician-nutritionist, psychologist or other licensed or registered professional.