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How to Combat Emotional Eating and Stress Eating

How to Combat Emotional Eating and Stress Eating

Do you turn to food for comfort to deal with stress or difficult feelings? Here’s how you can avoid emotional eating and stress eating.

Do you often find yourself reaching out for your favorite foods whenever you are stressed, anxious, lonely or even extremely happy? You are not alone! Eating in response to difficult emotions is known as emotional eating or stress eating, and it is not really a healthy habit. But did you know that there is a scientific reason behind that?

What is the main cause of emotional eating?

You might find it interesting to know that the bacteria that live within us influence our moods and desires to make us eat what they require for their survival. According to research, gut microorganisms control your eating habits to benefit their own health. They do this by inducing cravings for the meals the microbes need, as well as by lowering your mood until you consume items that are good for your health. 
The interdependence of the gut and the brain also plays a significant role in emotional eating. Our gut is lined with more than 100 million nerve cells. Since there is a bidirectional conversation between our brain and gut, the gut-brain axis has an impact on our emotions, which in turn have a significant impact on our hunger and food preferences.

How to combat emotional eating and stress eating?

Emotional eating and stress eating can lead to weight gain and other health issues. But thankfully, there are ways to combat these habits. By utilizing the power of psychobiotics in your diet, probiotics and prebiotics, you can effectively control your microbes. Are you confused about how to do it? Here are some simple tips that you can follow to avoid emotional eating and stress eating:

Add more fiber to your diet

If you are prone to emotional eating and stress eating, increasing the fiber content in your diet is an excellent idea. Because high-fiber foods are more filling than low-fiber foods, you will actually eat less and feel fuller for longer. Adding foods like oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, broccoli, green beans and potatoes, which are rich in soluble or insoluble fiber, can help protect the good bacteria in your gut.

Eat a nutrient-dense diet 

Always keep in mind that a diverse microbiome is a healthy microbiome. And a nutrient-dense diet is an excellent way to increase microbiome diversity. If you want to feel full and avoid emotional eating, a nutrient-rich meal must be balanced with a sufficient quantity of protein, fat and fiber.

Enjoy prebiotics

Prebiotics are among the best nutrients for your gut because they support the growth of good bacteria, which in turn helps our satiety hormones function to regulate hunger and cravings. To increase your intake of prebiotics, you should add foods like broccoli stalks, the bottoms of asparagus, kale stems, orange pulp, ginger, garlic, dark chocolate and root vegetables to your diet. 

Eat fermented foods and probiotics

I recommend consuming more fermented foods to give your diet an extra boost of nutrients that will enrich your stomach and manage cravings. Furthermore, these foods are highly nutritious, easy to digest and packed with probiotics. Here’s a list of fermented foods that you can add to your diet to combat emotional and stress eating:
  • ​​Kimchi
  • Kombucha
  • Miso
  • Natto
  • Sauerkraut
  • Tempeh
  • Cottage cheese
  • Kefir
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt 
To learn more about emotional eating and how to avoid it, book a consultation with Dr. Shah here.