Does sugar affect how you deal with stress?

During times of stress, our body initiates our flight or fight response.  The fight or flight response plays a critical role in how we deal in stress and danger in our environment.  Essentially, the response prepares the body to either fight or flee the threat. The stress response can be triggered due to both real and perceived threats. When you experience persistent stress, your adrenal glands releases cortisol, which increases appetite making you more likely to eat when you don’t need it. 

When we are stressed our tendency is to eat more, especially unhealthy carbs, such as sugary drinks, cookies, candy, ice cream, pasta and white bread become our staple.  Eating these foods cause your blood sugar levels to increase rapidly creating an imbalance in the body.  It has a double impact when we are stressed out and eat poorly as both rapidly raise your blood sugar levels.  What you eat during times of stress can have a direct impact how you respond and how the body recovers from stressful situations.  

Research has shown that symptoms associated with a blood sugar imbalance are depression, anxiety, mood swings, poor concentration and brain fog.  Stress and a poor diet, zaps our energy, effects our sleep, changes our brain chemistry, leave us feeling overwhelmed and unable to make decisions.  In today’s world, stress is a daily companion, we have many more pressures and if stress is long term it can have a direct impact on our health.  

Stress management is key, we need to recognize our triggers and develop ways to help alleviate stress.  There are many stress reduction techniques that you can adopt.  Start small, it can be simple as mediating, going for a walk, listening to your favourite song and or talking it out with a friend.  Having a good support system is key to help you cope.

What you eat can also have an impact how you will react to stress.  During times of stress eating a diet that helps balance those sugar highs and lows will help reduce some of the symptoms and improve your response to stress. 

A quick fix during times of stress are drinking a glass of water with lemon instead of sugary pop or a herbal tea instead of coffee or caffeinated beverages.  Have healthy snacks on hand such as boiled egg, veggies, almonds, walnuts, and or piece of fruit.  

We are living through challenging times and stress won’t go away but if we eat better and practices stress management techniques then we are more likely to keep our bodies strong and manage our stress. 

My Blueberry Energy Smoothie recipe will balance your blood sugar and help the body fight stress.  It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein and good fat.  This recipe will kick your sugar cravings to the curb, give you all day energy and help improve your mood.   

Ingredients:  Serves 2

  • 2 cups frozen blueberries 
  • 2 cups of baby spinach 
  • 1 banana frozen or chopped 
  • 2 tbsps Chia seeds and or hemp seeds
  • 2 cups of water 
  • 1 Avocado 
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon 

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth.