In our high speed, commuting life, we don't often think about food. Labour saving devices like cars and computers have actually reduced our spare time, rather than created more. The consequence of it all is stress. And stress has much more importance on your health than you may think.
One of the main predictors of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease is, in fact, stress. It matters.
Stress can form from losing a job, family dynamics or simply trying to maintain good health. And it makes sense - evolutionary, behaviourally and biologically - that when we do feel we're overwhelmed, we reach for those comfort foods. The very foods that are energy dense with layerings of salt, sugar and fat.
They give our brain the reward it desperately craves and primes us for the next assault. Realistically, though, this is a craving that is a borderline addiction and for an assault that will never come.
How we feel also changes the way our body is hardwired. Our bodies release more of the stress hormone, cortisol. Evidence suggests that chronically high levels of cortisol may cause fat to accumulate around the middle and make weight more difficult to lose, as well as placing you at risk of further health problems down the road.
It's not as simple as being prescribed a chill pill. The interaction of behaviour, biology, genetics and the food environment has created a beast to be reckoned with. But it can be as simple as bringing our attention to what is happening, noticing that when we are stressed, we tend to choose those highly palatable foods.
So here are my tips you can do to manage your stress levels, improve what you eat and vitalise your health.
Read Dan Buettner's The Blue ZonesNational Geographic explorer Dan Buettner looks at seven of the longest living populations around the world and cleverly explains how these people live, socialise, exercise and eat. From life lessons to simple cooking techniques, what you learn throughout these pages could change your life.