Category Archives: Stress

Getting Out of a Bad Relationship Could Help You Fight The Battle of the Bulge

There are plenty of reasons why you should get out of bad, or even abusive relationships. The chronic stress that an abusive relationship can cause could affect you for the rest of your life, and even short term, an unpleasant relationship can make you unpleasant, hard to be around, and in general unhappy. According to science, there’s another side effect. A bad relationship could make you fat.

Researchers from Ohio State University have studied the idea, finding that a contentious relationship increases your risk of obesity, because it changes the way your body reacts to fatty foods. Who knew it could change your body chemistry that much.

Researchers took this question seriously, and the idea seriously. They brought in 43 couples who had been married for at least 3 years, and they asked them about psychological history such as depression and mood disorders as well as their marriage satisfaction. They then fed the subjects high-fat meals and asked them discuss or resolve one of the issues they had. They watched and broke it down into psychological abuse, distress maintaining conversations, hostility, or withdrawal.

Those with a history of mood disorders who also experienced hostile interactions in these confrontations burned fewer calories in the fatty meals they ate, and they also had more insulin in their blood. So it’s not just eating more fat. It’s actually not being able to process it as effectively.

Martha Belury, co-author of the study said, Insulin stimulates food intake and the accumulation of fat tissue in the abdomen. And adding that on top of the lower energy expenditure creates a higher likelihood for obesity. But it doesn’t stop there: Elevated triglycerides lead to heart disease. Along with high insulin, elevated triglycerides indicate metabolism of sugars and fats is impaired. These are hallmarks of increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

In short, if you live in an unhappy relationship, it may be time to cut the ties and get out. More than 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese, and it’s not all because of bad relationships. But for those who are experiencing this phenomenon, it seems obvious. Get out of the relationship.

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Foods That Fight Stress

You’re running a million miles an hour. There’s so much to do and so little time to do it in. Without a doubt, you have plenty to deal with, and this could lead to plenty of junk food. After all, it’s a lot easier to run to McDonald’s than to take the time to cook a healthier meal. Unfortunately, these foods we reach for when we’re stressed and in a hurry are not only unhealthy, they are also more likely to raise your stress levels.

Why not help yourself out and at least find foods that are easy to get ahold of, but healthier and able to actually reduce your stress levels? Here are a few:

  1. Blueberries

    Blueberries have an incredibly high concentration of healthy antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and fight cell damage. It can also help you to regulate your blood sugar levels, and by reducing stress, you might even reduce belly fat. The low calorie, high nutrient density certainly doesn’t hurt.

  2. Peaches

    Peaches have plenty of healthy potassium that can help to lower blood pressure. It also has plenty of beta carotene and antioxidants, fighting harmful free radicals and inflammation once again while giving you that sweetness without all the extra empty calories of many candies.

  3. Cacao

    This is also known as cocoa or chocolate. It’s not the best tasting thing you ever had on its own. However….it does have a lot of phenylethylamine, which reduces stress and improves your mood all at the same time. You can add it to smoothies, and you can also get it from dark chocolate with minimal extra sugar and dairy. The darker the chocolate the better.

  4. Maca

    This is available as a powder, but I understand it’s difficult to get it in whole form. Made from a Peruvian root, Maca has a phytonutrient that can help you to fight anxiety and depression with natural energy and hormone balancing effects. You can easily mix this into a smoothie.

  5. Spinach

    Spinach has plenty of healthy magnesium, and it can improve your body’s natural response to stress while preventing spikes in your blood pressure.

  6. Walnuts

    Walnuts have been through multiple studies, and they have shown that just one ounce a day could actually help to regulate your blood pressure and prevent it from rising. It can also keep your anxiety levels in check. Just put some on your salad.

Is Stress Causing Your Headache?

Whether it’s all over tension headaches or localized migraines, when you experience more stress, studies have suggested that you will also suffer more and more frequent headaches. A study in Germany followed subjects for 2 years, tracking stress levels, headache types, and headache regularity with 500 adult subjects. If they were to report more stress, they also reported more headaches according to the study. The scale given was 0 to 100, and they found that every 10 point increase in stress led to a 6% increase in headaches.

However, this is still early. The exact links between stress and headaches aren’t 100% clear according to coauthor Sara Schramm MD of the University Hospital of Duisburg-Essen University. According to Schramm, the actual causes of headaches may be much more complex, and there’s no simple answer. The good news in a way is that the connection definitely does exist.

Schramm has recommended stress lowering techniques such as yoga and meditation to prevent future issues with unnecessary headaches.