Magazine article USA TODAY

Eating Right to Reduce Stress. (Your Life)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Eating Right to Reduce Stress. (Your Life)

Article excerpt

During times of stress, people often turn to traditional "comfort" foods such as pizza, macaroni and cheese, and ice cream. Ironically, these high-fat foods are usually the worst possible choices because they can make individuals feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. Not only that, but stress can drive up blood pressure and raise serum cholesterol levels, wreaking havoc on arteries and increasing the risk of heart attack.

The best solution? Low-fat, high-fiber, carbohydrate-rich meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables. They soothe without sapping energy and give the nutrients needed to boost the immune system. Here's a guide from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, D.C., to which foods reduce stress and which ones make it worse:

Include

High-fiber, carbohydrate-rich foods. Scientists believe carbohydrates cause the brain to produce more serotonin, a hormone that relaxes people. Lots of fiber is helpful in preventing late-night binging. Some examples of healthy comfort foods include baked sweet potatoes, minestrone, or sauteed vegetables over rice.

Fruits and vegetables. Chronic stress can weaken the ability to fight disease. …

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