We’ve all had a case of being ‘hangry, when our stomachs are empty and everything irritates us. But it’s not just a case of eating your cereal in the morning – experts have found the foods we snack on can affect the way we feel by up to 88%. Make these changes to quieten those grumbles…
Don’t Quit Chocolate
If anything puts us in a good mood, it’s being allowed to tuck into chocolate, but go for the dark variety. It’s high in magnesium, which calms muscles and reduces anxiety. Nutritionist Sana Khan explains: “It’s also rich in antioxidants, which regulate the neurotransmitters associated with mood function, keeping them stable and you happy.”
The No-Dips Dip
Whizz up homemade guacamole to dip into while watching TV. Tomatoes and avocados are rich in B vitamins – a lack of which can lead to irritability. “Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, while avocados have plenty of omega 3,” adds Sana. Yum!
Forget everything Dr Atkins told you to do. “You should never cut out carbs,” explains Sana. “They’re vital for energy production and B vitamins. Choose slow-releasing ones such as brown rice, wholemeal bread and oats. These encourage a gradual release of sugar into the blood and will stabilize your mood.”
Cut Back On Coffee
It’s easy to turn to coffee or tea for a quick pick-me-up, but studies show an intake of more than about 700mg of caffeine (that’s about five cups of coffee) is associated with depression and mood swings. “Replacing coffee with green tea will make a difference to your outlook,” says Sana. “Not only is it lower in caffeine but it also contains theanine, an antioxdidant that helps to regulate moods.”
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Eat Some Feel-Good Greens
Kale is big news in Hollywood and for good reason – it’s bursting with vitamins, antioxidants and even protein. It’s also off the charts in folate, a B vitamn that may help reduce symptoms of depression. Can’t get hold of it? Sana suggests affing raw spinach to salad and soup. “Spinach contains luteolin, a phytochemical which can stabilize the microglia in our brain. When these are overactive they can damage our brain cells causing low moods,” says Sana.
“Nuts are rich in omega-3 fats,” says Sana. “These help restore the structure of cells in our brains so they communicate better, boosting your memory and mood. Our nut of choise? The brazil. It’s full of selenium, which can ward off depression.
By Giselle Wainwright