When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to make unhealthy food choicesand reach for bags of potato chips instead of carrot sticks.
“Cravings may be triggered by an insufficient level of dopamine or serotonin,” explains Natalya Fazylova, DNP, ANP-BC, BCIM, a New York City-based holistic health and wellness specialist.
If you’re under pressure, the adrenal glands produce cortisol, aka the stress hormone, while the brain has a low serotonin level. This induces cravings for comfort foods such as those high in simple carbohydrates. After you consume them, insulin levels in the blood increase and stimulate the brain to release stored serotonin. “We suddenly feel better, our mood improves, and we function well,” Fazlova says. But this serotonin rush doesn’t last long, and soon after, you’ll generally feel tired or hungry again and the same vicious cycle continues.
Excerpted from Prevention