Are you like me? When you get stressed or depressed, do you reach for the bad stuff: chips, ice cream, donuts? Is it like your appetite is out of control?
While this kind of emotional eating may provide fleeting moments of relief, it can be devastating to your health in the future.
So, many people turn to medication. But before you do that, I have some lifestyle and natural remedies you should consider.
What Causes Emotional Eating?
Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression are all triggers to eat. And most of the time, people suffering from these issues don’t reach for nutrient-dense items like apples, pears, nuts, or carrots; they reach for things like cookies or French fries.
Health Risks of Emotional Eating
Sugary and fatty foods provide comfort by boosting serotonin and dopamine. These are both chemicals in the body involved in mood, specifically feelings of happiness and well-being.
But these foods don’t only contribute to an expanding waistline; they can also boost the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.
Furthermore, using junk food as a regular source of calories throughout the day can result in nutrient deficiencies that can limit the efficiency and functionality of your body, impacting areas like bone density and vision.
But how do you break this comforting (and dangerous) habit?
Natural Ways to Curb Emotional Eating
If you’re an emotional eater, first consider methods like meditation, mindfulness, tai chi, and exercise. These are all excellent ways to get the same results as stuffing yourself with junk food, without the negative health effects.
You should also think about adopting a hobby and spending more time with real, genuine friends. It’s also very important that you do your best to get about eight hours of quality sleep every night in a dark, quiet atmosphere.
Making these lifestyle adjustments can help relieve that stress, anxiety, or depression in a healthier way and curb your appetite.
Natural Supplements to Curb Emotional Eating
If you still find yourself with an insatiable appetite for unhealthy foods every day, there are a few supplements you can try. These supplements, known as adaptogens, are not appetite suppressants per se. Instead, they can curb your appetite by altering your body’s response to stress, meaning you’ll have less of a need to cope through emotional eating.
1. Rhodiola Rosea
Rhodiola rosea is an herb traditionally used to fight fatigue and as a stress adaptogen. Studies on humans have shown it can reduce fatigue and stress symptoms, like emotional eating. In fact, studies on rats have actually shown it specifically reduces stress-related binge eating, likely because it boosts serotonin levels.
Various forms of ginseng, but specifically “true ginseng” and “American Ginseng,” may also limit stress snacking by improving the body’s condition under stress. Research has shown taking it can improve “self-reported calmness.”
The Ayurvedic remedy ashwagandha, or Withania somnifera, is commonly used to prevent anxiety. It’s shown promising results in relieving insomnia and stress-induced depression that can lead to mindless snacking and emotional eating.
One or more of these three supplements, when used in conjunction with the stress-relief lifestyle changes I mentioned, may help lower your stress-related appetite and save you from the inevitable health problems associated with a poor diet.
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