Friday, May 6, 2016

Reduce Stress with Diet and Exercise

Reduce Stress with Diet and Exercise
by Pamela M. Peeke, MD, MPH

More than one in 10 of those who responded to HealthyWomen's recent Web-based survey on stress said they coped with stress by doing unhealthy things such as overindulging in alcohol and food and other self-destructive behaviors. I can guarantee these actions won't help them feel any better; in fact, such behaviors only exacerbate the harmful effects of chronic stress on your health and likely add a whole host of other issues to deal with.

For the reality is that there is very little you can do about the stress in your life. What you can do something about, however, is how you let it affect you. And the best place to start is with a bedrock of healthy living. This strong foundation may help protect you against the harmful effects of the chronic stress we all live with.

That means following a healthy lifestyle, particularly when it comes to eating and exercising.

Eat Your Way to Calm

Here's how to do it:

Skip the simple sugars and starches (chips, cakes and ice cream). The spike in blood sugar and insulin they cause, combined with your already high cortisol levels, can lead you to eat more as well as put you at risk of insulin insensitivity and diabetes. There's nothing wrong with reaching for comfort food, but take the attributes of the "bad" comfort food - creamy, crunchy, sweet - and try to find healthier alternatives.

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