Stress and Sugar

Stress Hormones and Sugar Cravings: Be Strategically Prepared!
We have all been there:  It’s a day packed with looming deadlines, demands and it feels like the more time that passes, the further behind you are.  Corisol and adrenaline, the “stress hormones” are coursing through your body.  In times of extreme danger (like when being confronted by a bear or a burning down house), these hormones can be life saving as they give you a boost to fight the danger or flee.  Adrenaline increases blood pressure, the heart rate and energy supplies.  Cortisol allows the brain to efficiently use glucose which is elevated due to the stress hormones while suppressing other body functions.  When in a high stress situation, cortisol dampens the digestive and reproductive systems.  When stress is high, sugar cravings can strike leading to destructive up-and-down blood sugar levels and fatigue.
This article summarizes information from the Mayo Clinic  and this article, discussing how stress can be life saving- or wreck havoc and how to strategically cope with the stress related sugar cravings.
Usually the trigger to the stress or the threat pass with time.  The bear lumbers away (or you’ve run to safety) and the burning house is extinguished.  But what happens when the stressors and threats don’t go away and you for whatever reasons, you haven’t mastered stress management?  Being in stress over-drive can have serious detrimental effects to both the mind and body- and ultimately, your life.  Anxiety, depression, heart disease, sleep issues, digestion maladies, weight gain and even a compromised ability to remember and concentrate are all potential consequences of prolonged and elevated stress hormone levels.  
We have all heard of different ways to cope with stress; meditation, exercise, taking time for personal hobbies, deep breathing techniques.   The trick is to implement these good strategies and decisions into daily life and make them habit.  A healthy diet can work wonders in battling stress.  Eating well and limiting sugar intake allows the body and mind to better cope with life’s stress.  The tricky part is, many of us crave more sugar when under stress! As other Kay’s natural Blog posts such as THIS ONE  have discussed, too much sugar creates a continuous roller coaster of blood sugar and insulin levels.  Too much sugar and too much stress are a recipe for fatigue and health problems.  So when under stress and the sugar cravings are high, what is person to do?
  • Don’t keep “junk” food around.  If its there when you’re stressed, you’ll probably eat it!
  • Plan Ahead- keep healty, low sugar, high protein snacks available.  When possible,  divide into reasonable portions, all the better to avoid mindlessly overeating when the stress hormones kick into overdrive.  Having  your own snacks will make avoiding the sugar laden candy bowl or the vending machine easier.
  • Don’t forget to eat healthy meals too!  When trying to reach a deadline it seems like skipping a meal to make a deadline is a good idea.  But remember, your body needs proper nutrition all the more when under stress.  In the long it will be worth it and a meal will fuel you to think better and faster.
Stress is a part of daily life.  The hormones cortisol and adrenaline propel us through short-term stressors and daily habits aid us to deal with routine stress.  In addition to these hormonal fluctuations and life style choices, eating healthy snacks or “mini meals” during the day fuel the body and mind ti better master stress and related sugar cravings. Stave off low blood sugar in the first place by keeping grab and go option like fruit, nuts and Kay’s Naturals in your desk, car and pantry.   
Additional helpful information on how to eat your way to a happy heart can found at the Mayo Clinic’s Stress Management website.  

This article is only for educational purposes and should not replace the advice of a doctor or healthcare provider.

The food we eat can have a tremendous effect on how our bodies function. This is especially true for our cardiovascular health. The foods we consume play a direct role in cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Eating healthy foods can also prevent future health problems from occurring. Making some simple changes to your diet can have you feeling better and healthier in no time. This article will identify some food to avoid or enjoy due to the way they affect cardiovascular health. The information relayed here was obtained from an article published by the University of California, San Francisco.
For heart-healthy diet follow these guidelines:

Low in sugar
Sugar can harm our cardiovascular healthy. Sugar is problematic for people with pre-diabetes, diabetes, or metabolic syndrome because it stimulates insulin production. Additionally, sugary foods are generally high calorie and can cause overeating and weight gain. Finally, overeating simple sugars can also raise blood levels of triglycerides.
Carbohydrates, and a bit of sugar, can be apart of your diet. According to UCSF, “a heart-healthy diet includes fruit, vegetables, grains and yogurt and milk for some — all of which contain naturally occurring sugars. Because these foods provide important vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, the body's main fuel source, they should be a regular part of the diet.”
Low in sodium
The average American eats twice the recommended amount of salt each day. Reducing sodium intake is one of best things we can do to make our hearts happy. Although, sodium sensitivity varies person to person, sodium reduction can help decrease blood pressure significantly in many people. A low sodium diet can also delay or prevent high blood pressure as we age. It is good to aim consum 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day or less (1/2 to 1 teaspoon of table salt).
Low in trans and saturated fats
Avoid Saturated fats because they raise blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the "bad" cholesterol. Only 7 percent of our calories should come from saturated fats each day. (A daily diet of 2,000 calories can have 16 grams of saturated fat, or less than 3 ounces of cheese.) To eat less saturated fat minimize consumption of meat (especially high processed meats such as bologna and sausage), cheese, butter and cream.
Trans fats damage our heart healthy because they raise LDL cholesterol and also decrease the "good cholesterol," high-density lipoprotein (HDL). There is no recommended level of trans fat because any amount can be harmful. Trans fats are most often found in food made with partially hydrogenated oils or has been deep fried. Fat altogether is not bad. Up to 35% of a heart-healthy diet can come from fat, it the fat is mostly mono- and polyunsaturated.  (For a 2,000 calorie daily diet that is a maximum of 78 grams of fat.)

Low in cholesterol
Cholesterol intake should be limited. Meats, egg yolks, organ meats, shrimp and squid are high in cholesterol. Minimize cholesterol-rich foods to once a week if you have the the risk of a heart attack or stroke.

High in omega-3 fats
According to UCSF , “Omega-3 fat, in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), is being studied to find out exactly how it benefits health. So far, evidence is strongest for omega-3 fat's ability to lower blood pressure and decrease blood levels of triglycerides. At the UCSF Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center, we recommend eating fish frequently — at least two times per week.”

High in fiber
Currently, the average American eats about about half the recommended amount of fiber. We should be consuming at least 25-30 grams everyday. Fiber is an essential part of a heart-healthy diet, Soluble fiber is especially important because it decreases blood cholesterol. Fruits, legumes, and vegetables are often high in fiber.

Eating to nurture a healthy heart does not have to be at the expense of convenience and taste. Kay’s Naturals can be apart of your heart-healthy diet because all of our products are low sodium, low sugar, low fat, and high in fiber. All our products are diabetes friends, certified gluten free, and have great taste. To learn more, visit our website!
Additional helpful information on how to eat your way to a happy heart can found at the website heart healthy.

This article is only for educational purposes and should not replace the advice of a doctor or healthcare provider.


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