5 Foods to Eat When You're Feeling Off
It's no secret that certain foods can help improve your mood (especially when you're hangry), but there are all kinds of foods you can eat to feel better. If you're stressed, tired, bloated, or even if you had one too many cocktails last night, try these suggestions for foods that will have you feeling like yourself again in no time.
Food plays a big role in how you feel. Use the tips below to help yourself feel good again, even if you’re tired, stressed, or queasy. None of these foods are fancy, so they’ll be easy to find at the store whenever you need them. (You probably already have at least a few on hand.)
1. If You're Feeling Bloated...
If you’re wondering what to eat when you feel bloated, first be sure to not completely skip a meal. Instead, reach for foods like pineapple and mint. A meal that’s both light and hydrating will help last night’s meal move through your gastrointestinal tract and will also help flush out excess water. “It sounds counterintuitive, but water-rich items like fruits and vegetables help your body release excess water,” says Wendy Bazilian, Dr.P.H. and R.D.N., and the author of Eat Clean, Stay Lean. The fiber in the produce will also help keep things moving, and mint has been used to help soothe indigestion for centuries.
Try this tropical mint smoothie: Blend the following ingredients until smooth: Two handfuls of fresh spinach, 10 mint leaves, ¾ cup fresh or frozen pineapple cubes, 1 medium banana, ½ cup each Greek yogurt and milk, 1 Tbsp. lime juice (about half a lime), and 2 tsp. honey (optional). You’ll be feeling better in no time!
Tip: Fruit hydrates more efficiently than water! “Eating an apple and drinking a glass of water is more effective than drinking two glasses of water,” says Gina Bria, coauthor of Quench: Beat Fatigue, Drop Weight, and Heal Your Body Through the New Science of Optimum Hydration. Because the water in fresh veggies and fruits is in a gel phase (technically called H3O2), it matches the water inside our cells and hydrates better than tap water.
Also try this recipe: Pineapple, Mint, and Coconut Water Pops
2. If You're Feeling Stressed and Cranky...
When you’re feeling hangry, popcorn and almonds are great snacks to help improve your mood. Almonds are full of fiber and protein, which will help you feel full, while popcorn is a whole grain carbohydrate. Believe it or not, popcorn will help your brain release more of the feel-good, stress-less brain chemical serotonin, says Amy Gorin, M.S., R.D.N.
Try this almond-pop mix: Combine ¼ cup almonds and ½ cup seasoned air-popped popcorn. Add 1 tsp. of this everything bagel seasoning on the popcorn: Combine 1 Tbsp. each poppy seeds, toasted sesame seeds, dried garlic, and dried onion, and 2 tsp. coarse salt. A light drizzle of olive oil will help the spice mix stick to the popcorn.
Also try this recipe: Banana-Almond Energy Bars
3. If You Have an Upset Stomach...
When you're not feeling well, ginger is the trick to settling an upset stomach. This spicy root is thought to ease nausea by lowering levels of vasopressin, a hormone that causes the digestive tract to spasm, resulting in queasiness. If you want to get a dose of this herb, add a warm, soothing ginger-infused tea to your diet. “The tea also helps make sure you’re not dehydrated,” Bazilian says.
Try this warm ginger sipper: In a medium saucepan bring 4 cups water, ½ cup thinly sliced and peeled fresh ginger, and 2 strips lemon zest to boiling over high heat. Turn off the heat; cover and steep 15 minutes. Strain, discarding the ginger and lemon zest. Add 1 to 2 tsp. honey before drinking.
Also try this recipe: Ginger-Apple Tea
4. If You Had a Few Too Many Cocktails...
If you’ve had a little too much to drink, you can blame your headache and queasy stomach the next morning on dehydration and low blood sugar. The best cure is water to help you rehydrate, and a filling meal that will balance your blood sugar. A healthy breakfast sandwich with eggs, toast, avocado, lettuce, and tomato will definitely help you recover. “You get protein from the eggs, healthy fat from the avocado, fiber from the whole grain bread, and extra water from the lettuce and tomato,” Gorin says. Avocado has healthy fat and potassium—an electrolyte that helps your muscles, nerves, and brain work effectively and one that alcohol tends to deplete.
Try this healthy breakfast sandwich: Prepare 2 eggs however you like, ideally in a nonstick pan to reduce the amount of oil and butter needed (both of which may not agree with your upset stomach). Top a slice of whole grain toast with the eggs, a quarter of an avocado, and as much lettuce and tomato as you like.
Also try this recipe: Mediterranean Breakfast Sandwich
5. If You Didn't Get Enough Sleep...
We’re not saying you have to say goodbye to your morning coffee, but other snacks will help keep you energized if you didn’t get a full night’s sleep. Snacks and meals coupling carbs and protein are your best bet to stay energized. Both convert to energy, but carbs alone can lead to a blood sugar crash and burn. “Combining healthy carbs like fruit or whole grains with protein helps provide steady, long-lasting energy,” Bazilian says. Tart cherries and walnuts, added to the parfait below, are sources of melatonin, which helps regulate your sleep cycle.
Try this yogurt parfait: Layer 1 cup Greek yogurt (whole or low-fat), 2 Tbsp. dried cherries or ¾ cup thawed frozen tart cherries, and 2 Tbsp. chopped walnuts. Drizzle with honey or maple syrup, and enjoy!
Also try this recipe: Cherry Java Refrigerator Oatmeal