While it may seem that stress and comfort foods are perfectly suited for each other, there are many reasons why we should not only avoid comfort foods but avoid food altogether when experiencing stress.
Oftentimes, people turn to food for relief. People tend to eat the same groups of foods for comfort. Sometimes, these foods are nostalgic and often starchy or sugary.
There is a biochemical reason why the body and the mind begin to crave what we call “comfort food.”
Whether sitting unhappily in traffic for hours or fighting with your spouse, perceived stress will set off the same cascade of chemicals in the body.
This chemical cascade involves the same chemicals that would be released if a wild animal were chasing you. That is how far back in history our stress response goes. Our stress response is in place as a survival mechanism.
Do you think you would ever nervously munch away at a cracker while being chased by a tiger? Not likely. And nature agrees: there is no value in food while running for your life. When you are under stress, your body does not care about digesting food. Instead your body makes all its energy available for fight-or-flight.
That is why the nervous system uses chemicals to tell the body when the best time is to relax.
Mindful eating is one way to quickly engage the parasympathetic nervous system while also encouraging optimal digestion. When we mindfully eat, we become aware of:
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