- High level of stress is harmful to your health
- You need to stay stress free for a healthy weight
- Yoga and meditation can help you fight stress effectively
Stress negatively affects your health in various ways. It affects both mental and physical health. Stress can trigger the risk of several health conditions including depression, anxiety, heart disease, hypertension and more. You might not know stress can affect your body weight too. It can make you consume more calories resulting in weight gain. Cortisol is the stress hormone. The levels of this hormone increase when you are stressed. In this situation, you crave comfort foods. The secretion of stress hormone also causes higher insulin levels that too make you crave for foods loaded with sugar and fat.
To explain the link between stress and consumption of unwanted calories, we spoke to Mrs. Sweedal Trinidade, Dietician at P.D. Hinduja National Hospital. Below are the insights she shared on the link between stress and emotional eating resulting in weight gain. She also shared some tips to fight these hunger pangs.
Stress and weight gain: Here's the link
Stress can be simply explained as an individual's response to an event or stimuli that can be emotionally or physiologically challenging. Mild stress can prove to be a positive stress or eustress increasing motivation to achieve goals by walking that extra mile. But chronic stress affects health.
How stress can make you consume more calories.
Stress has a direct impact on hormones. It increases the secretion of glucocorticoids and insulin which influence eating behavior. It may increase or decrease food intake. There may be food cravings or portion sizes (under or overeating). The higher the secretion of cortisol levels the higher is the urge for untimely calorie-dense snacking. Also, feasting on favorite foods, desserts and fried foods can contribute to more calories in the bargain of reducing stress and filling an emotional void.
How to deal with those hunger pangs
To deal with hunger pangs you need to deal with the stress that has a direct impact on it. Here are ways one can try along with mindful eating.
1. Breadth it out
Yes, meditation and breathing exercises have known to have a positive effect on blood pressure, and better control over making mindful food choices.
2. Physical activity
Physical activity increases endorphins thereby reducing the stress levels.
3. Adequate sleep
It regulates your appetite and reduces sweet cravings.
4. Support groups
Connecting with your loved ones reduces the ill effects of stress.
It is very important to differentiate between emotional hunger and physiological hunger. Emotional hunger has an instant impact on your appetite compared to physical hunger which is gradual. Emotional hunger makes one crave for more comfort foods which make satisfy the taste buds but not nourishing to the body. Emotional hunger can be mindless and can lead to over eating as one only aims at stuffing rather than filling the stomach for optimal nourishment.
Eat healthy to nourish your body, remember moderation is still the key to good health!
(Mrs. Sweedal Trinidade, Senior Dietetics Officer, Dietary Services, P.D. Hinduja National Hospital and MRC, Mumbai)
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.