Treat stress with fruits and veggies, not sugary sweets

Sara Williams

Stress can make you fat.

It’s during times of stress, such as the start of a semester or during exams, when a student may chomp on high-sugar foods for comfort or energy.

“Stressed spelled backwards is desserts,” said Rose Ann Chiurazzi, a registered dietitian at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.

Cookies, chocolate, candy, pastries and caffeinated drinks seem tempting because they offer an energy rush, Chiurazzi said. But when the rush wears off, these foods can add to stress and they typically lack nutrition.

“Stress leads us to these things because stress fatigues us and we look for a way out,” said Williams Strandwitz, a clinical nutritionist.

Vitamin B helps with physical stresses, but it doesn’t need to be taken in supplement form. A healthy diet of breads, cereals, fresh fruits and vegetable, will supply the vitamin.

For fruits and vegetables, Chiurazzi said to “eat the colors of the rainbow.” This ensures exposure to the unique nutrients each offers.

The American Heart Association Web site lists fruits and vegetables as a “nutrition bargain” because they are high in vitamins, minerals and fibers, but are low in calories.

Drinking enough water is also important, Chiurazzi said. Six to eight glasses is the typical recommendation, but the amount increases with physical activity.

“If you aren’t hydrated, it can make the body more stressed,” she said. Symptoms of dehydration are feeling grouchy, achy or tired.

Caffeine is dehydrating, so it plays a vital role in the amount of water needed. Drinking extra water after caffeine can help counteract it.

Chiurazzi said a sign of good hydration is pale yellow urine.

Contact student life reporter Sara Williams at [email protected].