Stressed: Eat Chocolate
The stress is building, so what can calm you down fast?Now’s the time to pull out the chocolate bar hiding in the back of your desk drawer. Experts say that chocolate - particularly dark chocolate - may help reduce the stress hormones that are swarming in your body. In fact, a recent study by researchers in Switzerland, found that eating just a smidge of dark chocolate has the power to lower the stress hormones cortisol & catecholamines in the body, reducing your anxiety & giving you a better chance to get the job done.
Sluggish: Eat a Spinach Salad
Skip the coffee and have a spinach salad instead, says Joanna Dolgoff, MD. “Folic acid, or folate, helps your body to process and lower homocysteine levels,” says Dr. Dolgoff. The best way to get a boost - eat folate-rich foods like spinach and other leafy green vegetables as well as potatoes, fortified breads and cereals, beans, peas and mushrooms.
Cranky: Eat an Apple with Peanut Butter
Crankiness can be a sign that your body needs fuel. Just be sure to refuel the right way - with foods that don’t leave you with a blood sugar crash an hour later, setting the crankiness cycle in motion all over again. To blast irritability, “eat combination foods at each meal and snack,” says Dr. Dolgoff. Combination foods contain a carbohydrate in combination with either some protein or some fat. Carbohydrates are a great source of energy that quickly burns out. Adding some fat or protein will slow the digestion process, causing your sugar and energy levels to remain stable for a longer amount of time. A great example of a combination snack is an apple with peanut butter.
Anxious: Eat a Salmon Burger
If anxiety & worries are consuming your day, consider heading out to lunch with a friend. The conversation will do you good, & so will the meal - if you order salmon, which is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, a nutrient that may help tame your anxiety. While there are plant-based sources of omega-3s, Dr. Ilardi says it’s best to stick with fish: “The specific form of omega-3 that most strongly boosts mood is found most abundantly in coldwater fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel,” he says.
Angry: Sip Green Tea
If you need to calm down fast, consider sipping a cup of green tea, says Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, a researcher, nutrition expert.Here’s why - “Green tea contains theanine, which calms you and helps you maintain clear concentration and focus,” he says. Green tea’s modest amount of caffeine won’t send you into an angry rage, either - it’s gentler on your body than coffee.
Sad: Eat Whole-Grain Cereal with Lowfat Milk
While the source of your sadness could be work - or relationship-related, it also may have something to do with a deficiency of vitamin D in your diet. If you’re low on vitamin D, you may be affecting your body’s ability to stabilize your mood and reduce feelings of depression. To boost your intake of vitamin D, turn to lowfat fortified milk, fortified cereals or mushrooms.
PMS: Eat an Egg-Salad Sandwich
If your go-to PMS meal usually comes in the form of comfort food (mac ’n’ cheese, potato chips, ice cream) consider making an egg-salad sandwich instead. Carbs help your body boost its serotonin levels, in turn helping you improve your mood. But avoid high-sugar, high-fat carbohydrates, like doughnuts or chips, which can leave you feeling sluggish - or worse, grumpy - after your blood sugar spikes, then drops.
All photos by Shutterstock. By Sarah Jio