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.

Hormones and Your Hunger

Hormones & Your Hunger

Did you know what you eat can affect your hormones?

Balancing hormones is complicated. But you have to start somewhere one of the many ways to balance your hormones is to eat foods that help keeps the body in balance.

Balance Blood Sugar

Bad eating habits and stress can cause our blood sugar to swing up and down throughout the day. When our blood sugar drops, we can experience anger, fatigue, weakness and depression. Normally, we then receive a signal to do something such as a sugar craving or a desire for a coffee or alcohol. If we respond to the craving, and consume something, this will bring our blood sugar back up. Caffeine, sugar and alcohol all cause the blood sugar to swing up high. This causes a high insulin release. And too much insulin can affect other hormones.

If we do not respond to the craving, then our adrenals send a signal to tell the liver to release stored glucose and bring up blood sugar. Blood sugar swings high and again, large amounts of insulin are released.

To keep blood sugar stable it is important to eat small meals throughout the day with fiber and/or protein. Blood sugar stabilizing foods such as Jerusalem artichokes, cinnamon and legumes can be very helpful. Complex carbohydrates are also good to help manage post meal blood sugar spikes as they are higher in fibre and digest more slowly. Oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, potatoes, beans, peas and lentils are examples of complex carbohydrates. Adding a good fat to a meal also helps keep your blood sugar stable and are excellent for hormone health.  Examples are good quality olive and coconut oil, avocado, nuts and seeds.

Lowering stress also helps keep blood sugar stable.

When we are stressed, the adrenals work overtime to protect us from what they consider physical stress (even though we are not really in danger). This is our fight or flight response. It causes the adrenals to produce higher levels of adrenaline and cortisol.

Because we can only produce adrenaline for a few seconds, our fight or flight response is dependent on excess cortisol, and this is where the havoc begins. Excess cortisol has been linked to depression, blood sugar problems, reproductive issues, anxiety and weight gain around the middle.

To balance your blood sugar it is key to include a source of protein, good quality fat and complex carbohydrates as well as stress reduction as this will go a long way to balance your hormones.

A story about one of my client
One of my clients came to see me as she suffered from intense sugar cravings as well as mood swings, PMS and poor concentration. She was under a lot of stress to the point she had difficulty making the simplest decision. She has been following the hormone program for 2 months and has seen vast improvements. The biggest changes were her sugar cravings have reduced and she has reported that she does have a sense of calm and her focus has improved.

Here’s the good news
And it does not involve buying expensive supplements or doing complicated exercise routines

It involves something you really like to do – eating.

l have developed a complete hormone balancing program that allows you to eat your way to re-balancing your hormones.

The Healthy Hormones 8 Week Program will help you re- balance your hormones, using the foods that the systems in your body need to function properly. Click here for more details

A “Hormone Reboot ” You Can Do In 30 Days?

Of course…l love to hear your feedback and comments what you would like to see more of in my blog posts. Email me your comments