I came across a term that I think all of us experience — HANGRY. You’re hungry, low on energy, and grouchy. If you don’t find something to stop that growl in your stomach, you may go off the deep end.
calls it a “food swing,” Skipping meals and snacks can lead to a not-so-nice change in mood, because your brain is lacking its source of fuel.
Fortunately, grabbing a snack can alleviate all that crankiness, but not any ol’ snack will do. In fact, recent research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that people who choose junk (like processed foods, chips, pizza, etc.) actually have a higher risk for depression and feeling low. Those people that stick to healthier snacks, are using a higher quality fuel to make the brain work better, and happier. And certain foods can target specific mood issues.
- Whole Grains — carbohydrates increase the brain chemical serotonin, which is a mood enhancer.
- Greens — food that is chockfull of the B vitamin and folate (leafy green vegetables, beans, citrus fruits) may help ward off the doldrums of depression.
- Protein —for instance, turkey which is high in tryptophan, an amino acid thought to have a positive effect on stress because it helps the brain produce feel-good chemicals. Tryptophan is important for increasing your brain’s levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
- Tea — it has the ability to decrease the stress hormone cortisol
- Greek Yogurt — add some fruit to combat low blood sugar which can cause irritability and anxiety.
- Chocolate — of course chocolate makes the list. Specifically it helps with PMS, but it also helps to reduce stress hormones.
- Fish — omega-3 fatty acids can help things run smoothly by keeping your brain working as a well-oiled machin
Curve your appetite with 5 small meals a day — What? When? Why?
In an interesting study, researchers estimate that cutting just 3 grams of sodium from your diet every day (about 1/2 tsp of salt – or the amount in your pasta water) could prevent up to 99,000 heart attacks & 66,000 strokes every year.
So what’s the story on salt? The research is confusing. We’ve been told that those who have high blood pressure
should reduce salt consumption. But in fact, only ½ of hypertensives are salt-sensitive and ¼ of those with normal BPs respond with an elevation in BP to a salty meal. Of course, hypertension can significantly increase the risk of stroke.
But now a more recent study determined that the risk of stroke was higher in people who ate more sodium, regardless of their blood pressure. Research also shows a diet rich in salt may have an adverse effect on Vitamin D as well as promoting calcium excretion, which has negative implications with bone density. And here’s another surprise: people tend to become more sensitive to sodium as they get older. Likewise, their blood pressure is more likely to drop when they cut back on salt in their later years.
So my advice: Be mindful of your salt intake. The brackish flavor is not worth the risk. Cut back a little at a time it’s safer and your taste buds will become accustomed to the taste so you won’t even miss it. It’s estimated that a full 75% of our salt comes from foods that are processed. So eat fresh food, pass on the condiments (pickles, catsup, relish…), canned foods, chips, and fast-food. In other words, eat a healthy diet and cut back on the salt.