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The food you eat, and your mood are interconnected, says science. Several studies indicate that what we eat may affect how angry we feel. We are not saying that what you eat will make you punch someone; it is a bit deeper than that.
For example, Trans fatty acids are significantly associated with greater aggression, lack of omega-3 has already been linked with depression and antisocial behaviour; when levels of the brain chemical serotonin dip from eating the wrong food or not eating, it affects the brain regions regulating anger .
This article contains the following:
- Are Food And Anger Connected?
- What Foods Can Make You Angry? Angrier?
- Which Foods Can Help Manage Anger?
Food And Anger: How Is It Connected?
If you find it hard to believe that what you eat can control or manage your anger, here are some scientific proof.
- A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences points out that low glucose levels resulting from hunger can lead to aggressive impulses .
- A University of California study showed that a diet high in trans fatty acids was directly linked to increased aggression .
- Omega 3 deficiency has been linked to the risk for depression, which may contribute to irritability .
- A three-month trial conducted by researchers at Deakin University in Australia followed 67 participants who had poor-quality diets and also battled moderate to severe depression .
As experts point out, nutritional deficiency is a major cause of behavioural abnormalities. Without the proper nutrients, the body cannot produce the appropriate chemicals and hormones required for clear thinking and a healthy mood, which can lead to irrational and even dangerous behaviours .
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each organ system has a specific emotion attributed to it. The liver is anger, the lungs are grief/sadness, the heart is depressed/insomnia, kidneys are fear, and the spleen/pancreas is overthinking/worry.
Here is a list of foods that can make you angry or worsen your bad mood, followed by a list of foods that can help with anger management. Let's take a look.
Foods That Can Cause Anger or Worsen Your Anger
The foods listed below are included based on findings of both Western Medicine experts and Eastern Medicine experts. Therefore, it'll also contain foods from an Ayurvedic perspective.
1. Tomato: Considered as a 'hot' food that causes body heat to rise, tomatoes are said to cause anger . In Ayurveda, hot foods are often associated with anger or the fire element Pitta. However, that doesn't mean you should avoid eating tomatoes but combine them with cooling foods such as coconut, coriander leaves etc.
2. Brinjal: Also called eggplant, this vegetable can cause anger. As brinjal is high in acidity, it can lead to feelings of anger or frustration. If you feel that consuming brinjal is causing you to get angry often, reduce the consumption and observe for any changes .
3. Cauliflower: Foods such as broccoli and cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts etc., can cause the development of excess air in the system, resulting in gas and bloating. And this has been shown to trigger anger .
4. Dried fruits and chips: While dry fruits are a healthy addition to your diet, for some people, they can cause anger, and the same goes for chips. This is due to the light and airy qualities of these foods.
5. Chewing gums and candies: Chewing on gum constantly and consuming artificially sweetened candies could trigger and worsen stress-related digestive issues, which can, in turn, lead to irritability .
6. Dairy products: Milk, yoghurt, cheese, milkshakes etc., can lead to brain fog and irritability in many people. However, that can be managed by adding spicy foods to it such as pepper, ginger etc.
- nutritionSkip The Dairy: A List Of Non-dairy Substitutes For Your Daily Milk, Butter, Cheese & More
7. Cold fruits: Cold and damp food cause brain fog and anxiety, which can worsen anger as well. If you are already feeling a bit off, avoid cold fruits, cucumbers, watermelon, and salads.
8. Greasy foods: Common greasy foods we consume include burgers, fries, pizza, potato chips, fried chicken, doughnuts etc. When you consume too many greasy foods on a regular basis, it affects your liver health. As mentioned before, the organ liver is linked to anger. Cigarettes can also lead to anger .
9. Refined flour and sugar: Food that is damp, sugar, fried food, and dairy will all cause brain fog, which in turn can worsen your mood and cause you to become angry easily. If you've been feeling a bit sluggish, it may be a good idea to cut back on white bread and white sugars for a while.
10. Alcohol: Alcohol stimulates the release of cortisol, the primary stress hormone and puts you in a fight-or-flight mode. And alcohol and stress, and anger feed each other and affect your nervous system and make you jittery and aggressive .
Note: The foods mentioned in this article does not have the same impact on everyone. The reactions and responses to food vary from one individual to the other.
Here are some more foods that can make you angry or angrier; so, avoid them when you are feeling off:
- Store-bought fruit juices
- Agave nectar (sugar substitute)
- Cold cut meat
- Processed seeds (pumpkin/sunflower)
- Salted peanuts
- French fries
- Canned foods
Foods That Help Manage Anger
In most cases, a bad mood or an angry outburst can be managed by consuming 'happy' foods. Here is a list of foods that help manage anger .
(1) Bananas: Bananas contain dopamine that enhances your mood and are also a rich source of vitamins A, B, C and B6, which help the nervous system. Bananas also have magnesium, which is associated with providing a positive mood.
(2) Dark chocolate: Eating a piece of dark chocolate will boost the brain to discharge endorphins and boost serotonin levels. Also, it helps to develop fewer stress hormones and decreases anxiety levels.
(3) Walnuts: Walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, melatonin and antioxidants, which are helpful for the human brain. It offers the mixed mood-boosting elements of omega-3 fatty acids, tryptophan and vitamin B6. So, consume walnuts that will not only boost your happiness but will also help to ease anger.
(4) Baked potatoes: Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates and vitamin B, which play a key role in lowering blood pressure and decreasing your stress level. Baked potatoes are beneficial in controlling your anger and good for your mental health, too .
(5) Celery: Celery has a sweet and bitter flavour, and it is cool and crispy. Celery tranquillizes the mood, clears your mind and helps to cure anger. You can either have it raw by adding it into salads or add it to your cooking.
(6) Spinach soup: Spinach is rich in serotonin, the feel-good neurotransmitter that is good for the brain and stabilizes your mood. Try to have a bowl of spinach soup whenever you feel that you are about to have an outburst. It will calm you down and relieve you from anger.
(7) Chamomile tea: Sipping on chamomile tea will help your nervous system to relax and calm down. It contains antioxidants and flavonoids that have a calming effect on your body. Drinking chamomile tea three times a day can help manage your anger.
For some people, coffee is an effective mood booster and can help manage their anger.
Food Related Anger Management: Tips To Improve Your Daily Diet
- Eat plenty of dopamine-building foods, such as fish, poultry, eggs, and leafy green vegetables.
- Add magnesium-rich foods such as almonds, spinach, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for improved sleep quality.
- Limit added sugars and try to eat more fruits and fewer sweets.
- Have a diet that is balanced in vitamin D, add foods such as fatty fish, egg yolks, liver, and of course some sunlight too.
- Increase intake of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseed, chia seeds and walnuts.
- Load your plate with mood-boosting foods by eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
On A Final Note…
You do not have to make a drastic change to your eating habits if it is already comprising of a balance between vegetables, fruits and meat (for non-vegetarians). However, if your diet primarily consists of gluten, sugar and trans-fat, it is high time you make a change. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist for further clarifications.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What foods trigger anger?
Ans: Some of the common foods that trigger anger are sugar, MSG, gluten, heavy foods, fried foods etc.
2. Why do I feel angry after I eat?
Ans: Certain foods can make you feel angry or cause you to become angrier, as they may trigger cortisol production or cause your body to heat up, leaving you to feel irritated.
3. What vitamins can help with anger?
Ans: Several vitamins and other supplements have been linked to reduced stress symptoms, including Rhodiola rosea, melatonin, glycine, and ashwagandha. L-theanine, B complex vitamins, and kava may also help. Consult a doctor for more.