Healthy food to self-soothe

If you’re feeling: stressed out
Eat: chicken stir-fry with brown rice

When you’re stressed to the max, you may be tempted to self-soothe with food: a bag of chips, mac ‘n’ cheese, a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream – or all of the above. But overeating won’t turn a bad mood around; it will only make it worse. That may be because eating poorly can make you feel guilty. Instead of reverting to comfort foods, plan your dinner ahead of time and stick to the menu, no matter what happens during your day. Your best bet to restore balance: a meal with lean protein, plenty of vegetables and whole grains.

If you’re feeling: grumpy
Eat: watermelon

If you’re starting to feel sluggish during the day – mentally or physically – drink a big glass of water or chow down on watery foods like cucumbers, watermelon or soup. Being even mildly dehydrated can cause headaches, fatigue and problems in focusing. Everyone’s water needs are different, which is why eight glasses of water might not work for you. How do you know if you’re getting enough? TMI alert: your urine should be pale yellow or nearly clear.

If you’re feeling: sleepless
Eat: a big salad

What you eat can affect the amount and quality of the z’s you get at night. People who get the optimal amount of sleep have the most variety in their diets. Nibbling on many different kinds of foods will give you the biggest range of nutrients that benefit sleep. Pack a wide variety into a big lunchtime salad and cover all your nutrient bases: vegetables, fruit, cheese, nuts and protein.

If you’re feeling: PMS
Eat: lentils

Iron, found in lentils, is used to help create mood-boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, so that may be one reason for the association. The biggest benefits may come from eating 20 milligrams of iron a day—that’s higher than the 18 milligrams currently recommended for women. Beat the bloating, fatigue, and low mood associated with PMS by boning up on plant sources of iron like lentils, dark leafy greens, and tofu.


“The Good Mood Diet” by Jessica Girdwain was originally published on Spirituality & Health.

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