ANKENY, Iowa — There are some foods that produce nearly immediate benefits, perfect for today’s fast-paced, busy schedules.
To reduce cravings, drink water.
With almost every part of our body relying on adequate water intake, it’s no wonder our bodies scream “I’m thirsty!” In fact, those signals to drink up may be mistaken for sugar cravings or an afternoon energy slump. Instead of reaching for something sweet or full of caffeine, drink at least 8 ounces of water then wait 15 minutes. Did the craving pass?
To improve mood, reach for whole grains.
Whole grains, like oatmeal, barley, cereals, whole wheat breads, etc., are digested more slowly than their refined counterparts. What does that mean for your mood? Slower-digested carbohydrates keep your blood sugar steady, which helps prevent the dreaded hungry, irritable mood swing—also known as hanger. Carbohydrates are also linked to increased serotonin, a chemical linked to improved mood. Win-win.
To improve regularity, load up on fiber.
If your bowel movements have been lackluster lately, try increasing your fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. But don’t stop there! Since soluble fiber pulls water into your colon to soften it, you need to increase water as you increase fiber. If you’re new to high fiber foods, increase them gradually to avoid bloating, gas and other unpleasant side effects.
To improve your workouts, drink chocolate milk.
When we exercise, we use up our body’s energy. Which, in theory, sounds great if you’re aiming to lose weight. However, continually running your energy stores low means you can’t push as hard during your workouts. The fix? Refuel after a workout. An eight-ounce glass of low-fat or fat-free chocolate milk within about an hour of exercise provides the perfect combination of carbohydrates to restore your body’s stored energy (called glycogen) and protein to repair muscles.