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Food and Stress

Before and After BMI

August 31, 2011

Food and Stress

Studies have shown that food and stress are linked together. Certain foods can trigger stress and there are also certain foods one can eat to help reduce stress. This tends to be the hectic time of year for most of us with school starting back up and having to adjust schedules based around work and school obligations. Below is a list of some foods to avoid that can cause stress and also some foods to consume to help alleviate stress.

Foods that Cause Stress:


Sugar quickly raises the energy levels in the body in a short period. The body then releases insulin into the blood to reduce sugar level.  Even after the body has lowered sugar levels to normal, the insulin release may persist, and cause a rapid drop in energy levels.


Caffeine increases stress levels by stimulating the central nervous system. Excess intake of caffeine will result in hyperactive mood and causes irritability leading to stress.


Alcohol disrupts sleep and causes irritability resulting in higher levels of stress.

Foods that Help Reduce Stress:


Proteins maintain the body’s muscles and strengthen them and this goes a long way in fighting stress. Protein also helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent those high and low dips that are stress inducing. Also when protein is broken down, the amino acid tyrosine contributes to the chemicals dopamine and epinephrine, which have the capacity to give the body more energy. This is very important when you are feeling exhausted from the side effects of stress.


Nuts are loaded with Vitamin E and contain B vitamins as well. These help your body hold up during unpleasant events. Try snacking on almonds, pistachios, or walnuts.


Potassium helps to lower blood pressure. Good sources of potassium include nuts, avocado, oranges, yogurt, chicken and fish.


Iron helps in transporting oxygen via the bloodstream. Iron deficiency can lead to poor intellectual capacity and this in turn weakens the body’s stress-response levels. Some foods that are rich in iron are eggs, lean meat, and hull peas.


Zinc helps in speeding the metabolic process of proteins. This ensures that proteins are not converted to fat. Foods high in zinc are chicken, beans, and pears.

Citrus Fruits

Citrus is high in folic acid. Lack of folic acid can reduce the levels of serotonin in the body, this can contribute to depression, anxiety, and even excess anger.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex and whole grain carbohydrates provide fiber and energy, they also help create that relaxing neurotransmitter serotonin during the digestion process. Pick whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, barley and choose 100% wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta.

Chamomile Tea

Chamomile can help with relaxation, anxiety, and insomnia.
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