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Gretel DeRuiter

Gretel DeRuiter

Assistant Editor, Major Gifts Today

The Link Between Diet and Stress

Do you ever think about the fact that if you ate differently, you might be better able to handle the stress in your life?  Do you ever wonder how stress might affect what you eat?  No matter how you look at it, stress and food are related.  There are many things that you can do to help deal with your stress without resorting to food as your crutch.

How Your Diet and Stress Are Related

When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to overeat or eat too little.

Either of these things has a negative impact on your blood glucose levels and can cause mood swings that create conflict and intensify your stress. Once you become aware of your stress response, you can make the choice to change it.

  • Food cannot cure stress, but it can help. When you eat nutritious foods, you are giving your body the fuel it needs to handle common stressful situations. By contrast, when you eat mostly sugars and fats, your body doesn’t have all of the nutrients and energy supplies needed to deal with stress, and you’ll be more likely to feel grouchy, tired, or anxious.
  • Stress breaks down the immune system, but the right foods support it. Studies have proven that stress weakens our immune system, leaving us exposed to dangerous viruses and bacteria. Eating nutritious foods helps your body build and maintain a healthy immune system to combat both stress and illness. So eat right, and feel great!

When you look at all the ways that stress and diet are interwoven, it’s hard to deny that the foods you eat affect how you think, feel, and react. After all, an unhealthy diet not only stresses your body, but your mind as well. A good starting point is to evaluate your daily diet and make one change at a time to create a healthier lifestyle.

Beyond the Diet

As you begin to adjust your diet, consider these other proactive ways to help control and manage your stress:

  • Get 7-8 hours of sleep at night.
  • Make time to relax.
  • Have and use a support system of trusted friends, family, a support group, or a counselor.
  • Know your limits.
  • Plan and organize proactively.
  • Learn to say no

These are just a few stress solutions that, in addition to healthy eating, will help you limit the stress in your life.  When you incorporate even just a few of these healthy-living strategies into your life, you’ll find that stress becomes less overwhelming and your ability to manage work and relationships improves.

By the Numbers

Consider the recruitment opportunities for your organization that these stats indicate:

  • About 63 million Americans (25% of the adult population) volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
  • These people spend an average of 52 hours/year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3% are involved with two.

Random interesting stats presented monthly from various sources.