There are a number of foods that trigger the stress response. These foods are said to work on the sympathetic nervous system (which is a big part of the stress response) (Zucker, 2000). These pseudostressors are as follows:
a. Caffiene containing products – these products increase metabolism and alertness, which, in turn, causes a release of hormones such as adrenaline (Zucker, 2000). It can also increase blood pressure and heart rate. Another issue with these foods is that they can cause havoc to happen on the nervous and digestive systems. Like in a stressful situation, the body begins to use that fight or flight response. It might increase its rate of fluid elimination as well (Zucker, 2000).
b. Carbohydrates – The body has an extremely hard time digesting these types of foods (which includes rice, flour, and that horrid and evil high-fructose corn syrup). These foods can also cause malfunctions in the body. The reaction of the pancreas and insulin production can be devastating on the system when lots of carbs are consumed (or a small amount in T2DM or prediabetics). I don’t want to preach or drag on about this, but it is important to understand that these foods can cause the body to become very stressed and can lead to hypoglycemia, diabetes, and more.
c. Processed foods – Yes, in today’s world a lot of people live on them. I have recently gone to a way of life in which I am cutting out most (if not all) of the processed foods I eat. This is because these foods are like a poison to the body. It is possible that these types of foods could be behind the excitement of the central nervous system in children with ADHD or other hyperactivity disorders (Zucker, 2000). I highly recommend people stay away from these. Even hydrogenated vegetable oils are reportedly not healthy. One might even call them poison.
d. Alcohol – It is a depressant, but just as in the carb and sugar situations, alcohol can lend itself to that insulin reaction in the body, putting it under a great deal of stress (Zucker, 2000).
There is so much to talk about on this topic! The literature is out there to help explain this. You can check out the Undergroundwellness.com website I list in the references to find out more!
Also, like I said earlier, cortisol plays a major role in the process of stress response…and some foods (like diets high in carbs or too low in carbs) have a major affect on this. When the cortisol acts, the body reacts.
Have a healthy day!
Croxton, S. (2010, Dec. 15). Ponder this: Grains, robots, and zombies. Retrieved from http://undergroundwellness.com/grains-robots-and-zombies/
Zucker, M. (2000, May). Food and stress – Eating as a reaction to stress. Retrieved from http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FKA/is_5_62/ai_62702342/