Food Fixes

Food Fixes

When You’re Stressed

Eat This
1 Cup of Yogurt or 2 Tbsp of Mixed Nuts
Scientists in Slovakia gave people 3 grams each of two amino acids—lysine and arginine—or a placebo and asked them to deliver a speech. Blood measurements of stress hormones revealed that the amino acid–fortified guys were half as anxious during and after the speech as those who took the placebo. Yogurt is one of the best food sources of lysine; nuts pack tons of arginine. 

Not That
Can of Soda
A study from the American Journal of Public Health found that people who drink 21?2 cans of soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious, compared with those who drink fewer.

When You’re Sad

Eat This
Arugula or Spinach Salad
Leafy greens—arugula, chard, spinach—are rich sources of B vitamins, which are part of the assembly line that manufactures feel-good hormones such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. In fact, according to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, a lack of B6 can cause nervousness, irritability, and even depression. 

Not That
White Chocolate
White chocolate isn’t technically chocolate, since it contains no cocoa solids. That means it also lacks the ability to stimulate the euphoria-inducing chemicals that real chocolate does, especially serotonin. If you’re going to grab some chocolate, darker is better; more cacao means more happy chemicals and less sugar, which will eventually pull you down.

When You’re Feeling Fat

Eat This
Grilled Chicken Breast
The protein in lean meat and poultry fills you up and speeds metabolism, which cuts your cravings while easing off the pounds. High-protein diets also help to build muscle and attack extra belly fat. 

Not That
Canned Soup and Salty Snacks
Sodium binges can lead to water retention, which makes your stomach feel like a beach ball. Avoid inflation by skipping salty foods like salted nuts and potato chips, and resist your cravings for Chinese takeout and Mexican food, two of the most salt-laden cuisines.

When You’re Low on Energy

Eat This
A Handful of Trail Mix
Raisins provide potassium, which your body uses to convert sugar into energy. Nuts stock your body with magnesium, which is important in metabolism, nerve function, and muscle function. (When magnesium levels are low, your body produces more lactic acid–the same a fatigue-inducing substance that you feel at the end of a long workout.) 

Not That
Espresso-based Drinks
Sure, the caffeine will perk you up, but with anywhere from 16 grams (latte) to 59 grams (white chocolate mocha) of sugar in your Starbucks drink of choice, the spike in blood sugar will ultimately send you crashing. Stick to brewed coffee.

When You Need a Brain Boost

Eat This
Blueberries
Antioxidants in blueberries help protect the brain from free-radical damage, which could decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, and improve cognitive processing. Wild blueberries, if you can find them, have even more brain-boosting antioxidants than the cultivated variety. 

Not That
Ice Cream
Sugary foods incite sudden surges of glucose that, in the long term, cause sugar highs and lows, leading to a lack of concentration. And foods high in saturated fat can clog blood vessels and prevent the flow of nutrients and blood to the brain.

When You Want to Increase Metabolism

Eat This
Green Tea
Catechins, the powerful antioxidants found in green tea, are known to increase metabolism. A study by Japanese researchers found that participants who consumed 690 milligrams of catechins from green tea daily had significantly lower body mass indexes and smaller waist measurements than those in a control group. 

Who doesn’t want a little help from this natural fat-burning engine? These foods will get the pistons pumping.

When You Need to Get Some Sleep

Eat This
 Popcorn
Pop a bag half an hour before bedtime: The carbs will induce your body to create serotonin, a neurochemical that makes you feel relaxed. Skip the butter—fat will slow the process of boosting serotonin levels. 

Not That
A Glass of Warm Milk
Forget what your mom told you: This popular remedy for sleeplessness could be making matters worse. The protein in milk boosts alertness. Plus, unless it’s skim, the fat in milk slows down digestion and makes sleep more fitful.

When You Need to Wake Up and Go

Eat This
Eggs and Whole Wheat Toast
Eggs are a great source of protein, and having them for breakfast sets you up for a perfect day of eating. Saint Louis University researchers found that people who eat eggs for breakfast consume 264 fewer calories the rest of the day than those who eat bagels and cream cheese.

Not That
Bagel and Cream Cheese
At 500 calories and 20 grams of fat, this classic is one of the worst ways to start your day. 60 grams of fast-burning carbohydrates will cause a dip in energy and a spike in hunger, long before lunchtime.

When You’re Hung Over

Eat This
Orange Juice
For last call, order a double virgin screwdriver. Fructose, one of the sugars in orange juice, can speed the metabolism of alcohol by as much as 25 percent. Vitamin C also helps combat binge-related cell damage. 

Not That
Whiskey and Diet Coke
Skip this classic and you may sidestep the hangover entirely. An Australian study found that mixing liquor with a diet drink nearly doubles your blood alcohol content. And darker-colored alcohols like whiskey, brandies, and red wine are more likely to cause a hangover than lighter-colored alcohols, like gin and vodka. This is because darker liquors contain more congeners—impurities that are the by-products of fermentation and aging—for your body to process.

When You’re Under the Weather

Eat This
Ginseng Tea, Hot or Iced
In a Canadian study, people who took 400 milligrams of ginseng a day had 25 percent fewer colds than those popping a placebo. Ginseng helps kill invading viruses by increasing the body’s production of key immune cells. 

Not That
Caffeinated Beverages and Energy Drinks
Excessive caffeine screws with your sleep schedule and suppresses functions of key immune agents. And insufficient sleep opens the door to colds, upper respiratory infections, and other ills. What’s more, caffeine can dehydrate you, and hydration is vital during illness: Fluids not only transport nutrients to the illness site, but also dispose of toxins.

When You Want to Get ”In the Mood”

Eat This
Dark Chocolate
The cocoa in chocolate contains methylxanthines, stimulants that increase your body’s sensitivity. Chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that can give you a slight natural high. And Italian researchers found that women who often eat chocolate have a higher sex drive than those who don’t. Make sure your chocolate has at least 60 percent cacao. 

Not That
A Bottle of Wine
While a drink or two can increase arousal signals between your brain and your genitals, more than a few drinks will actually depress your nervous system, making it harder for men to maintain an erection. Split a bottle with your partner, but stop there.

When You Want to Look and Feel Younger

Eat This
Sunflower Seeds
These tiny wonders have the highest natural vitamin E content of any food around, and no antioxidant is better at fighting off the aging effects of free radicals. Other great sources of vitamin E include Swiss chard, Total Cereal and Propel Fitness Water.

When You Want the Most from Your Workout

Eat This
PB&J or Pasta
The perfect post-weight training repast has about 400 calories, with 20 to 30 grams of protein (to build new muscle) and 50 to 65 grams of carbohydrates (to repair old muscle). Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a small bowl of pasta with meat sauce fit that formula.

 by Men’s Health

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