Can your diet affect your stress level? If so, what foods/drinks would you recommend I include in my daily diet?

Can your diet affect your stress level? If so, what foods/drinks would you recommend I include in my daily diet?

Question:
Elizabeth Ricanati, M.D.
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Elizabeth Ricanati, M.D.

Elizabeth Ricanati, M.D., is the founding medical director of Lifestyle 180, an innovative Cleveland Clinic program aimed at treating and... Read more

A diet high in saturated fat, salt and sugar can definitely increase your stress level. Eating highly processed foods (think fast food, frozen meals, store-bought cookies, cakes and chips) can raise your blood pressure and/or your blood glucose (sugar) level, two conditions that make you feel more stressed. Try to remind yourself that you are in the nutritional driver’s seat and in charge of what goes into your mouth. The healthier the choice, the better you’ll feel. Start with eating breakfast to get your metabolism going. If you’ve been a breakfast skipper, you will be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel after eating a morning meal. A breakfast with protein and fiber (think egg white omelets with veggies or steel-cut oatmeal with skim milk) will give you energy for the morning and help balance your blood sugar level. Keeping your blood sugar level stable means that you’ll be less susceptible to mood swings throughout the day. For the same reason, try not to go more than three or four hours without eating, and make sure to stay hydrated. Water is the best drink; aim for eight glasses of fluids per day, try to avoid sugary drinks and limit caffeinated beverages to no more than two (max three) cups per day.

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