Got an imminent deadline?
Have a cup of lentil soup to be more thoughtful. Lentils are rich in folic acid. Bannan says, “Tufts University researchers find folic acid appears to have a direct effect on boosting memory by lowering blood levels of homocysteine” – a potentially damaging amino acid.
Need an energy jolt before you hit the gym?
Don’t let everyday anxiety leave you too fatigued for the fitness game. Instead, gear yourself up for a great workout by munching a few whole-grain crackers with a smear of all-natural nut butter. According to Bannan, the best pre-workout food is high in “slow-burning” complex carbs, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole-grain foods, to give you a slow release of energy.
Bugged by PMS?
Make your monthly annoyance into something positive by savoring a sweet potato—or a few sweet potato fries—along with a silky glass of fortified soy milk. Women with PMS tend to have lower blood levels of calcium and magnesium. Bannan says, “Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which may reduce excess water retention as well as boost your mood.” Fortified soy milk contains calcium as well as vitamin B12, which increases your levels of serotonin, a “feel good” neurotransmitter. And yes, chocolate soy milk counts, too!
Jackie Newgent, RD, is a New York City-based nutritionist, author of Big Green Cookbook and The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, and healthy cooking instructor at The Institute of Culinary Education. Follow her @jackienewgent.