How many times has this happened to you?
You are stressed out and you eat something sweet or salty to feel better. You feel better temporarily, but then feel bad you ate something that caused you to gain weight or feel bad. We all have our “comfort foods!” They are usually starchy and sugary.
There is a biological reason for these cravings.
- Sugar increases serotonin in the brain
- Serotonin makes us feel good
The issue is that sugar increases inflammation in our body and can feed pathogenic microorganisms in the gut.
When we are stressed, chemicals are released. These are the same chemicals that would be released if a wild animal were chasing us! This response has helped us to survive. If you were being chased by a tiger, would you munch on a cookie? I don’t think so!
We don’t really need to eat when we are in this state. Our bodies aren’t very good at digesting when we are in this state. During a stress response, saliva decreases and large food particles are more likely to ferment in the gut. Inflammation will increase, cortisol increases, and immune function diminishes.
If you want to digest your food better and engage the parasympathetic nervous system for optimal digestion, you want to eat mindfully. Pay attention to how the food tastes and feels in the mouth and enjoy the memories associated with the food. Eat delicious and nourishing foods. Enjoy and appreciate each meal.
You can eat comfort foods… but there are ways to tweak some of the ingredients to make them less harmful and still taste delicious!