We have all had our moments of anger, where we lash out at the ones we love and feel guilty afterward. They don’t happen too often, here’s hoping, and we usually apologize and forgive (or hold a grudge, and feel sad and depressed).
But what if every nagging incident throughout the day made you angry? The sound of dragging shoes on the floor, a baby crying nonstop on public transit or a woman jumping ahead of you in line for coffee all seem to get under your skin. But what if we told you eating certain foods could elevate your mood, reduce stress and, ultimately, not make you so angry?
Anger is a strong emotion that can also wreak havoc on you physically – muscles tighten, heart rate and blood pressure increase and skin flushes red.
So how can you keep your cool? Start with these mood-boosting foods that will relieve stress and promote positive endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that help us see the sunny side.
Anger can lead to ongoing stress which takes a toll on the body, hindering its ability to detoxify and fight off illness.
Vitamin C is known to be a great antioxidant, working to combat this type of oxidative stress. That’s where kiwis come in; the fuzzy-skinned fruit is an excellent source of vitamin C with 92.7 mg per 100 g, far more than an equivalent serving of orange segments.
Start your day with this fruit to reduce the stress within your body, and feel more calm and energized.
You may associate pumpkins and their seeds with the fall harvest and Halloween parties, but there are lots of reasons why you should snack on them throughout the year (and top your salads with them).
Pumpkin seeds are packed with magnesium which helps to regulate blood sugar, as anger is prone to raise it. These seeds are also low in natural sugar so they won’t give you a crash, making them a great snack between meals. Raw or roasted, hold the salt!
Pumpkin seeds also reduce the effects of anxiety, another trigger for anger outbursts. The seeds contain zinc and tryptophan. These are essential nutrients because they release serotonin in the body which regulates the brain’s mood hormone.
To boot, they’re easy to transport and require minimal prep to pack, so sneaking these happy seeds into your lunch bag is a great way to stay calm and happy. Break a heel? Can’t find your car keys? Not such big deals after all.
Coconut products, such as oil and milk, are just about everywhere because of coconut’s endless list of health and beauty benefits. Coconut milk in particular contains “good fats” which will keep your blood sugar stable preventing irritability and anger.
A 2014 study by Ohio State University examined the effects of blood sugar levels of spouses and associated behavior. The researchers concluded that spouses were more likely to lash out at each other when their glucose levels were low.
Your body needs fuel (and good fats) to keep you steady. Don’t just keep your blood sugar normal for your colleagues and friends, but your spouse depends on it as well!
Coconut milk is easy to use in soups, stews and stir-fries, or puddings and hot cereal, which makes this an easy food to eat often and stay married.
A diet staple for overall health, leafy greens are loaded with magnesium. This is a nutrient with a long list of benefits. It relieves anxiety and relaxes the muscles as well.
So whether you’re enjoying them in a salad or on a sandwich, include these power vegetables in your meals throughout the day. For an added punch of magnesium, pair leafy greens like baby spinach and baby kale with peanuts, whole grains or brown rice to get the boost you need to stay calm, cool and collected.
End your day off right and ensure you have a peaceful night’s rest with a hot cup of chamomile tea. The daisy-like herb is renowned in folk and traditional medicine for its health, cosmetic and nutritional benefits.
Its fragrant aroma and herb infusion puts us gently to sleep; the mild sedative properties make it ideal to have before bed. It soothes the nerves and is great for those who are anxious or hyperactive. (Sign us up!)
The bonus? A good night’s sleep will keep you calm, rested and refreshed for the next day, nipping any anger and stress before they start.
Although you can feed yourself to ward off anger, certain foods and substances can do the opposite, putting you on edge and ready to blow. Steer clear of black tea, caffeine—in coffee, soda or supplement form—tobacco, alcohol, spicy and sour foods, which can all agitate the body’s nervous system.
Yoga, tai chi and meditation also help to de-stress. Try these along with eating happy foods for better mood, confidence and energy. Serenity now!
Mayo Clinic Staff, “Anger Management: Your Questions Answered,” Mayo Clinic, April 13, 2014; http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/anger-management/art-20048149
Lickerman, A., “Happiness in this World,” Psychology Today, November 10, 2013;http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201311/dealing-anger
Largeman-Roth, F., “Your Anger Management Menu,” The Dr. Oz Show, February 6, 2013; http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/your-anger-management-menu
AFP RelaxNews, “Low Blood Sugar Leads To Anger Between Spouses: Study,” New York Daily News, April 15, 2014; http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/blood-sugar-leads-marital-discord-study-article-1.1756867