Research has recently shown that eating fatty foods sends a strong message from the gut to the brain that negates sadness. No wonder stress makes us crave (and indulge in) unhealthy food!
Stress causes the gut to increase production of a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin sends messages to the brain, through the vagus nerve, telling it to release more dopamine, a substance that reduces depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, though, ghrelin also makes us hungrier.
Given this, it's easy to see why that big bowl of ice cream tastes so good when you’re feeling down.
How To Stop Emotional Eating
So what can you do when you’re feeling low and want to eat high-fat foods?
Exercise! Exercise! Exercise!
One of the biggest benefits of regular exercise is preventing the blues, as a side effect of exercise is increased production of anxiety- and depression-fighting chemicals like serotonin. You will find, as many do, that after beginning a regular exercise regimen, there is a noticeable decrease in desire for high-fat foods, especially if it had previously been a regular part of your diet.
If you've been following the Change Your Life program and incorporating those tips, you should be experiencing a decrease in desire for high fat foods about now, as well as a definite boost to your mood.
Next week, we’ll discuss depression and anxiety as it relates to digestive health.
Now It's Your Turn: What healthy things do you do to alleviate stress and stop emotional eating?
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