Did you know that the first line of defense against stress, depression and other maladies is found in your supermarket and not in the pharmacy? Research shows that vitamins, minerals and other goodness found in fruits, veggies and even chocolate have immediate results on health, mood, fitness and your sex life. So why not put food to work for you?
1. For Stress, Eat This: 1 Cup of Low-fat Yogurt or 2 tbsp. of Mixed Nuts (Not a Soda)
Studies show that three grams each of two amino acids — lysine and arginine — relieved stress hormones in public speakers better than those given the placebo. Yogurt is one of the best food sources of lysine, whereas nuts pack tons of arginine.
The American Journal of Public Health found that people who drink 20 ounces of soda daily are three times more likely to be depressed and anxious compared with those who drink less of it.
2. Slim Down , Drink This: Green Tea (Don’t Avoid Eating)
Catechins, the powerful antioxidants found in green tea, stoke your metabolism, making it burn better and torch more calories. In a Japanese study, those who consumed 690 milligrams of green tea daily had significantly lower body-mass indexes and smaller waist measurements than those who didn’t drink it.
When you skip meals your furnace goes cold. So try to eat throughout the day. Small meals rather than large ones keep the metabolism up and the fires burning.
3. For Your Energy, Eat This: A Handful of Trail Mix (Not Caffeine)
Fatigue is brought on by many factors, but when your magnesium levels are low, lactic acid (the same byproduct you get after a hard workout) rises and you feel sluggish. Raisins have potassium, which your body uses to convert sugar into energy. Nuts have magnesium, which boosts metabolism and improves nerve and muscle function.
We all know caffeine will perk you up, but the spike in blood sugar that follows will ultimately launch your own personal energy crisis.
4. Wake Up and Go, Eat This: Eggs and Whole Wheat Toast (Not a Bagel and Cream Cheese)
Eggs have lots of protein and start your day off right. Saint Louis University researchers found that people who eat eggs for breakfast consume 264 fewer calories the rest of the day.
The 500 empty calories of a bagel and cream cheese is one of the worst ways to start your day. Sixty grams of fast-burning carbohydrates will cause a dip in energy and a spike in hunger, long before lunchtime. The same goes for croissants, Danish pastries, donuts, and pancakes.
5. When You Want to Get “In the Mood’’, Eat This: Dark Chocolate (Not More Wine)
Chocolate, which contains cocoa, stimulates your sensitivity and also has phenylethylamine, a chemical that can give you a slight natural high. Italian researchers found that women who often eat chocolate have a higher sex drive. Make sure your chocolate has at least 60 percent cacao.
Wine, on the other hand, can decrease inhibition and up your sexual appetite only for about one glass. More than that, you are bound to become sleepier than turned on. So be cautious: the more pouring, the more snoring.