Hunger + Anger = Hangry— watch out!
by NatureBox Health Writer Jenilee Matz, MPH
You’re in the middle of a late afternoon meeting. Suddenly, everything your coworkers say bothers you. You’re downright irritable, sleepy, and you feel a headache coming on. What gives? You were in a perfectly good mood just a short while ago.
Chances are you’re hangry. Hunger + anger = hangry. This is your body’s way of telling you that you need healthy food stat.
Being hangry is the result of a drop in blood sugar levels. After eating an unhealthy meal or snack, blood sugar levels spike for awhile but they eventually come crashing down. Even if you eat nutritious foods, your blood sugar levels can still plummet- and you can become hangry- if you go too long between eating.
Fluctuations in blood sugar lead to anger, moodiness, difficulty concentrating, sleepiness, and headaches among other symptoms. It’s no wonder you felt so off during your afternoon meeting since it had likely been hours since you last ate.
To keep blood sugar levels steady and avoid “hanger” pains:
Have good nutrition
Think of food as fuel. Build your diet around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean sources of protein, and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Eating well-balanced, wholesome meals will keep you feeling satisfied for longer and will help stave off hanger. For example, having a green salad topped with fresh veggies, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, a handful of dried cranberries, a sprinkle of goat cheese, and a splash of vinaigrette for lunch will keep your energy levels- and mood- up better than a typical drive-thru meal.
Snacking is good for you. Just make sure you reach for a healthy snack that contains both carbohydrates and protein. Carbs give you an instant energy boost, while protein helps you stay full for longer and keeps crankiness at bay. Snack on an apple with peanut butter, Greek yogurt with granola, or carrots and hummus.
If you’re already hangry, don’t fret. Your blood sugar levels and mood will bounce back as soon as you munch on nutritious, balanced foods. Stock healthy snacks at your desk, in your purse, or in your car so you can avoid feeling hangry in the future.
Jenilee Matz, MPH is a medical writer, health educator, and runner based in Charlotte, NC
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