Stress is the state of emotional tension and can be rooted in anything from work-related pressures to personal relationships. Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives. As such, stress is a natural feeling, but it can become harmful to your health when it is constant in both your work and home lives. It can lead to various diseases and craving “comfort foods” – such as ice cream, pasta, or other high sugar foods.

Cortisol is known as the stress hormone and usually increases with stress. Higher levels of cortisol contribute to higher insulin levels. When this happens, your blood sugar dips, creating more carb cravings.

In addition to limiting or eliminating carbs, try to increase your diet with nutrient-dense foods, such as leafy, green vegetables. While a glass of wine may seem like a harmless way to relax, alcohol can also increase the cortisol level.

Reducing stress not only helps maintain a healthy weight, but it also leads to overall better health – reducing the chance of experiencing more harmful diseases. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat stress. Exercise boosts the body’s natural reaction with endorphins, which can improve your overall mood. You don’t need to be a marathon runner or Olympian to reap the rewards of exercise. Brisk walking is a great, low-impact exercise to feel fantastic, both mentally and physically.