Do you ever find yourself angrier than you expected to be (or should be), with no apparent explanation for it other than the fact that you’re also feeling ravenously hungry at the same time? Such behavior is more commonly evident in children who tend to get testy when they’re either tired or hungry, and worse when they’re both tired and hungry at the same time!
Does this happen with grown-ups too? Yes it does - and age has nothing to do with it! It’s just that most adults have learned to deal with these situations and to not be as demonstrative as a child when they’re hangry.
The hunger mechanism…
Is being hangry real?
A low blood glucose level makes people feel hungry. The brain requires glucose and doesn’t function properly in low glucose states. The part of the brain which has control over our hunger, fear, anxiety and anger is called the ‘limbic system’. When we have low glucose levels, this part of the brain is not able to perform well, leading to a breakdown of the self-control and aggression management mechanisms.
So, when you’re hangry, you’re not just more prone to snap at somebody because you’re hungry on a physical level, you’re actually hungry at a cerebral level too, and that deprivation is causing your reactive filters to blur, and often to shut down altogether.
So, what’s the solution?
1. Eat on time: eat timely meals to avoid going into a low blood glucose state. Don’t ignore your hunger. Eating on time will not only fuel your brain and keep your emotions in check but will also aid in fat loss and better performance overall.
2. Eat the right nutrients: it’s best to reach for something with protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates to curb this hormonal hanger. Load your plate with mood-supporting foods by eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables.
3. Eat magnesium-rich foods: because it is an essential mineral involved in energy production, protein synthesis, and cell signaling. Foods high in magnesium include almonds, spinach, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Also consider taking a daily magnesium supplement after speaking with your healthcare professional.
4. Limit sugar intake: eating simple carbohydrates alone can send blood sugar levels soaring, which can make you jittery, followed by a blood sugar crash. Avoid being in these situations as far as possible.
5. Is your Vitamin D level normal?: low levels of vitamin D are associated with depression and mood disorders. Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish, egg yolks, liver and sunshine, but often supplements are needed to maintain healthy vitamin D levels.