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What shouldn't I eat when dealing with stress?

In general it's a good idea, but particularly during times of stress, to skip the simple sugars and starches, such as potato chips, cakes and ice cream. According to the American Psychological Association's 2010 Stress in America survey, more than half of Americans (51%) reported overeating or eating unhealthy foods in response to stress, and one-third (33%) said they eat to manage stress. Seek healthier comfort foods, such as nonfat or low-fat yogurt instead of ice cream and carrot sticks or nuts instead of potato chips.

Avoid coffee and other caffeinated food and drinks. They not only increase levels of certain stress hormones, they also mimic their effects in the body such as increasing heart rate.

Load up on vegetables and other high-fiber foods. Not only do they keep your gastrointestinal tract working during high-stress periods (and help you avoid constipation), but the nutrients they provide lend an extra dollop of protection against chronic stress. Choose complex carbohydrates -- oatmeal, whole grains, nuts and beans. Their steady release of sugar keeps your blood sugar levels steady and induces the brain to release more of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.