There might be a few raised eyebrows when someone claims that “food is medicine”, or that it’s able to solve some common ailments. Well, in actual fact there is some truth in the theory.
We’re not talking about dipping into a big tub of ice cream when your emotions are low; suffice to say this is exactly what you shouldn’t be doing. However, there are various food tips and tricks that can help you along the way when the going gets tough; whether it’s if you’re struggling to sleep or just feeling a bit down in the dumps.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common solutions.
What should you eat if you can’t sleep?
It’s one of the worst feelings you can experience; that moment where you lie down, toss and turn, but just can’t for the life of you get to sleep. Well, this is a point you should look at your diet. For years one of the old myths has been to knock back a glass of milk, but we’re here to dispel that advice once and for all.
While protein is usually preached, if you have it close to bedtime it can make you more alert than ever. As well as this, don’t forget that unless you go for the skimmed version, milk is fattening and this can slow your digestion down and make sleep even more difficult.
The alternative is something that will please a lot of you; tuck into some popcorn. Sure, you should leave out the butter to remove the fat-element, but let’s hone in on the carbohydrates now. The 6g of carbs in a cup of popcorn will induce serotonin and make sleep much, much easier.
What should you eat when you’re feeling fat?
It’s a feeling that nobody wants to experience, yet it’s something that is affecting more and more of us according to widely publicized data. So, when you’re “feeling fat”, what should you turn to?
This is perhaps one of the more interesting points we can refer to. It’s at this stage that most guys will turn to a condensed soup, perhaps of the chicken noodle variety, as that seems the logical way to slim-down.
Sure, it’s low in calories, but the fact it’s almightily high in sodium means that your water retention can go through the roof. In short, you’ll feel more bloated than ever before.
The solution is to go for something a little heartier, with a grilled chicken breast being the prime candidate. The protein-factor here is significant and will help your body build muscle, whilst destroying fat in the process. Even though it’s more than double the calories, the properties of a chicken breast mean that you’ll burn far more calories in the aftermath of consuming.
What should you eat if you’re stressed?
When your stress levels start rising, it’s all too easy to reach for the soda. Well, let’s cancel out those thoughts right away.
Studies have shown that those guys who drink two soda cans per day have triple the chance of suffering depression or anxiety. As well as this, it should go without saying that the sweetening ingredients are going to do no favors to your body image; it’s going to increase the risk of obesity and as we know, this can result in a vicious circle.
Instead, one of the best foods to beat stress comes in the form of low-fat plain yogurt. If you can mix a tablespoon of nuts in then you’ll add even more punch to the food.
Both of these options can provide your body with masses amounts of lysine and arginine, both of which are essential amino acids which have been found to lower stress levels. Additionally, and back onto the general health factor, the protein content is a mammoth 13g and the sugar levels are much, much lower than that ‘trusty’ can of soda.
What should you eat if you’re depressed?
We’ve spoken about stress, so the next logical step is to progress onto depression. It’s understood that more and more people are suffering from this – and we’re by no means suggesting that it’s completely because of food.
Nevertheless, you can help treat the ailments through your stomach and again it’s worth turning away from the ‘stereotypical’ cures such as white chocolate. Sure, it might give you that immediate happiness-boost, but with almost 17g of sugar in a 1 oz. bar we probably don’t need to say much else.
So, what’s the solution? Well, it’s still tasty, so don’t worry about that. Rather than dipping into chocolate of the white variety, turn to dark chocolate (preferably 70% dark).
The reason behind this is simple; strictly speaking, white chocolate isn’t chocolate. It doesn’t contain any cocoa solids and as such, it won’t help your body produce serotonin like “real” chocolate does. Dark chocolate on the other hand will prompt your body to produce such chemicals, whilst it has the added benefit of containing nowhere near as much sugar.
What should you eat when you’re low on energy?
This is one of the trickiest stages of the day to negotiate; on one hand, you want that instant boost. On the other, you don’t want to crash out and burn.
Suffice to say, if you turn to the old classic of a whole milk mocha Frappuccino with whipped cream when you walk through the door of Starbucks, you’re asking for trouble. Sure, it might give you that instant pick-up, but just wait until those 61g of sugar kick into play (we’re not exaggerating the figures here).
You’ll experience a huge spike in blood sugar and crash worse than ever before.
This time, we’re going to suggest a slightly more sensible alternative, but one that can work wonders for the rest of your day. A raisin and nuts mix contain significant amounts of potassium, allowing you to actually convert the sugar into energy.
With the nuts then bringing magnesium to the table, it means you can fight off lactic acid production. For those of you who work out, the latter benefit can be significant and can really prevent fatigue.