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Which fats and carbohydrates should I eat when coping with stress?

When coping with stress, fats and carbohydrates should play a role in your diet, but use care regarding which fats and carbs.

Plant-based fats are vital for brain health, in part because they keep cell membranes fluid. Good fat sources include avocados, a wide range of seeds and virgin olive oil.

Similarly, many women have shunned carbohydrates as a way to lose weight. Yet they often crave certain carbohydrate-rich foods (think sweets) when depressed or stressed because carbohydrates produce serotonin, which creates good feelings and calmness. That blood sugar spike is followed quickly by a crash -- often compounded by feelings of guilt about the enormous piece (or two) of cake they've just eaten.

You need to consume carbohydrates every day to fuel your brain properly, but choose complex carbohydrates (starches) such as whole-grain products, vegetables (sweet potatoes are a great choice) and beans. Complex carbs contain fiber, which helps slow blood sugar level changes and reduce negative effects on mood.

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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.