Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Food and stress are inextricably linked in a remarkable way that most people would never imagine. This is especially relevant right now because going in and out of lockdown has been super-stressful for most of us.

We’ve just been through the double whammy of winter AND a pandemic. Work lives have changed for lots of people, and we’ve been cut off from family and friends.

Many people have been home-schooling as well as working and we’ve been denied so many of the normal pleasures of life. All the time, the threat of the virus has been hanging over us.

The toll on our bodies has been immense and stress will have had a huge impact on the hormones cortisol and insulin. These are both literally fat storage hormones!

They cause weight loss resistance which means the fat stays around your middle and is very slow to leave.

I call this lockdown belly!

But the good news is you CAN do something about it! 

Food and stress – the weight gain link

Food can change how we look, how much energy we have, what mood we’re in, how much sleep we get, how well our brains work.

If you’re going to get your hormones in balance then look at food as one of the main things to help you!

Don’t look on food as calories but as information for your brain. Yes, food IS information! It sends messages to the part of the brain that controls your cells and your hormones.

Food can tell you to burn fat or to store fat. It can tell you to be happy or to be sad. It can make you feel more energetic or it can make you feel lethargic. It can change how your brain functions. And it can even switch on the genes that cause disease.

Using techniques such as meditation regularly will help to overcome the effects of stress. But one of the quickest and most powerful things you can do is to restore nutrients to your body.

The best nutrients are oats, nuts ,seeds, leafy veg, meat, fish and dairy. These contain the B vitamins. Then the C vitamins are crucially important. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg, especially bell peppers, kiwi fruit, citrus fruit and green leafy veg.

Magnesium is also super important and is found in dark green leafy veg, avocado, brown rice, dark chocolate and again most fruit and veg.

Food and stress – the 28-day challenge

Here’s my stress-busting, fat-burning challenge to you:  For the next 28 days, add healthy superfoods to your shopping trolley. It’s as easy as A-B-S…

Avocado, Broccoli, Spinach.

Then every day make a superfood salad that will boost your entire system and help create more of the natural chemicals like glutathione which encourage the body to burn fat instead of storing it.

Food and stress – making a superfood salad

Start with a handful of spinach. Add some chopped carrot, cucumber, radishes and some shredded lettuce. Sprinkle a teaspoon of flaxseed over it.

Chop some celery, pickled cucumber then add a touch of mayo, a little beetroot and a spoonful of sauerkraut.

Try topping it off with half a pear, half an avocado and a chopped Brazil nut. Add a twist of salt and you have a delicious superfood supersalad.

Food and stress – your way ahead

Stress severely affects your immune system and causes all sorts of illnesses. The most important thing now is to prioritise YOURSELF.

During the past year, we have been all things to everyone and we often come way down the list. But please take some time now to look after yourself.

If we’re not looking after ourselves and our mental health, we’re no good to anyone else.