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Emotional eating is when we eat for any reason other than to nourish the body. It’s when emotions or memories fuel our hunger, rather than a biological need for nutrients. Often, a stressful situation is a trigger to grab bready, starchy, and fatty comfort foods.
It’s no wonder — the sugars in starchy foods encourage the release of serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin is a brain chemical that makes us feel good. For example, many antidepressants block the uptake of serotonin so that more of it stays in the brain, making us feel happier.
Even though comfort foods and sugar may dampen strong emotions, in the long run these habits create more stress on the body and a greater potential for fatigue and depression.
In short, stress shuts down your digestive power — making it harder to break down food and easier to overwhelm your digestion, your immune system, and your liver.
Emotional eating can leave you feeling worse than when you started. A complete superfood supplement like Vitality SuperGreen can help to calm cravings in times of stress.
During a stress response:
Stress hormones activate the fight-or-flight response, telling the body to send resources to where they are needed — not to your digestive tract.
So while the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, and the muscles are flooded with support, other systems in the body receive less help. This is one reason why ongoing stress can lead to problems like heartburn, constipation, or lack of appetite.
Stress also works against the immune system. When we feel stress, we produce stress hormones that tell opportunistic bacteria and yeast to grow.1,2 Indeed, research tells us that stress decreases the number of good bacteria living in the gut.3 Armed with fewer good bacteria, the body is more susceptible to infection, inflammation, and Candida overgrowth.
You can learn how to nurture your body and transform emotions without ignoring them or covering them up with unhealthy eating habits.
This isn’t always easy. But when it comes to maintaining health and vitality, managing stress and how we eat during stressful times is essential. As you learn to manage stress in ways that don’t involve unhealthy food, pay special attention to your digestive system and immune system. They will be good indicators of how your body is handling your emotions.
Emotional eating is considered the norm, especially if you’re under stress. In a stressful situation, you may first reach for starchy, fatty foods as a source of comfort. Starchy foods contain sugars that encourage the release of the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain. Over the long-term, stress eating can place a burden on the body and increase the risk of fatigue and depression.
When you’re under stress, use these five tips to preserve your digestive health:
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