by Matt Alderton | May 09, 2019
Turning to food when you're upset or anxious is rarely a good idea. After all, eating your feelings can lead to unhealthy weight gain and post-binge guilt, not to mention an upset stomach. But if you're an emotional eater, you should know that stress eating isn't all bad. In fact, sometimes it can actually be quite good. If you eat the right foods, that is.

"Everyone is impacted by stress," author Jennifer Cohen writes in an article for "While regular exercise and breathing techniques can help, another good option is to revamp your diet -- not to eat less, but to add … stress-busting foods. Adding just two or three … to your daily food intake can really make a difference."

Obviously, cake and ice cream are unhealthy choices when you're stressed. Foods like oatmeal, however, may actually help you cope.

"Oatmeal is a non-wheat grain, high in antioxidants and beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. Most notable is a unique group of antioxidants called avenanthramides, which are almost solely found in oats and have natural anti-inflammatory qualities," Cohen says. "Avenanthramides help lower blood-pressure levels by increasing the production of nitric oxide, a gas molecule that helps dilate blood vessels and leads to better blood flow, which in turn reduces stress."

Not a fan of oatmeal? Try turkey.

"The tryptophan in turkey is responsible for your entire family falling asleep after Thanksgiving dinner, but its calming effect is real," Cohen concludes. "In a study published in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, researchers found that people who took tryptophan supplements for 15 days reported higher levels of agreeableness than participants who took placebos. Tryptophan increases serotonin, so grab yourself a turkey sandwich (preferably on whole grain) once a week."

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