Danish researchers have found a strong link between workplace stress and heart disease, particularly for women under the age of 51.
As part of the study, more than 12,000 nurses were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their lifestyle and occupation and were observed for 15 years. 60 percent of the women rated stress at work as either a little too high or much too high.
The women who rated their stress as much too high showed a 50% increased risk for various forms of heart disease while those who said it was slightly high had an increased risk of about 25%. Over the course of the study, 580 women were admitted to the hospital for ischemic heart disease. Of these cases, 369 cases were angina, 138 were heart attacks and 73 were other cases of ischemic heart disease.
Unfortunately, your heart isn’t the only thing affected by stress – worry can also wreck havoc on your diet. If you’re emotionally drained after a long day at the office, you’re likelier to reach for foods that are not only bad for your weight but also your health.
“When we’re stressed or upset, we go for foods that are comforting,” says Pam Ofstein, former eDiets Nutritionist. “For some of us, that could be ice cream or sweets. For others, it’s a turkey dinner! We want something to get us over that unwanted feeling. The brain feeds off our emotions – we simply don’t reach for carrots!”
Luckily, there are ways to get your stress – and the bad eating habits that come along with it — under control. Doctors suggests taking a good, hard look at the source of your worry as well as the reason you want to eat a particular treat.
“It might be difficult to stop emotional eating all the time but try to recognize the ‘whys’ of emotional eating,” says Pam. “Think about for a second or so and you will realize that you might just be looking for a quick fix or the need to raise that blood sugar.”
If you still have the need to satisfy your sweet tooth, try one of these Pam-approved snacks to calm your cravings:
- Sweet fruit
- Flavored coffee
- Low-fat pudding
- Hard candies
By relaxing and having these healthy snacks always on hand, you’ll be doing your heart – and waistline – a favor!
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