When you feel your temper revving up – a cup of green tea is something you may want to consider reaching for! Green tea is traditionally known to improve cognitive function and seems to accelerate relaxation as well. (1)
According to Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, researcher, nutrition expert and author. If you want to calm down fast – Green Tea is what you should be reaching for! This beverage is considered one of the world’s healthiest drinks and contains high amounts of antioxidants. An amino acid called L-Theanine seems to be the culprit when it comes to the mood enhancing effects that green tea may have. (2)
L-Theanine it seems may affect the levels of certain chemicals in the brain. These include serotonin and dopamine, which influence mood, sleep, emotions and cortisol levels. These chemicals help our body deal with stress. According to Dietz & Dekker in a review of 49 human intervention studies– L-theanine improved relaxation, tension and calmness (1)
It seems though that even green tea has super-sized and popularised itself in the form of Matcha Tea. This specialist tea is frequently referred to as a “Mood & Brain food” due to its highly concentrated phytochemicals and polyphenols! Matcha tea lattes have become a standard drink in many popular cafes. Just make sure when you are reaching for your matcha latte that it is the real deal and not a nutrient free, sugar laden, coloured matcha fraud.
What about chocolate?
Many of you will be happy to know that even a few squares of chocolate may have an impact on our ability to react to stress and calm right down! In a study of 60 female students, it was noted that consumption of 40g of chocolate daily over a 2-week period had an impact on effective ways to reduce stress. (3)
As a nutritionist I can only recommend though a good quality dark chocolate (preferably over 70% cacao). Cacao is a rich source of flavanol antioxidants and the link between stress and antioxidants has been established. In another clinical trial strong evidence is shown that a daily consumption of 40g of DARK chocolate for 2 weeks reduced the levels of stress hormones in highly stressed people. And a recent randomised placebo controlled trial also concluded that men who consumed dark chocolate had significantly lower cortisol levels (5)
So maybe having a few squares of good quality dark chocolate could come in handy when you feel your temper rising!
The Ancient science of Ayurvedic medicine has its own protocol for calming the “doshas”. Ayurveda believes that everything we eat will have a direct effect on our health and moods. In fact, one can even follow an “anger reducing diet” which comprises of avoiding hot, spicy, oily, salty, fermented foods and including certain foods that help “cool” us down. A calming chamomile-tulsi tea is offered as a “cooling drink” to pacify and cool the heat and anger. (6)
Here are some general lifestyle tips to help you manage your anger:
- Learn to MEDITATE
- Reduce white refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
- Eat a whole food diet rich in nutrients
- Eat good quality protein snacks and meals to maintain blood sugar control
- Be a part of a community
- Remove yourself from confrontation- go for a walk
- Breathe deeply
- Spend time in NATURE
- Learn to Laugh
- Count to 10 slowly before you react
- Dietz C & Dekker M, 2017, Effect of Green tea phytochemicals on mood and cognition, Curr Pharm Des, 23(19):2876-2905
- Einother SJ & Martens VE,2013, Acute effects of tea consumption on attention and mood, Am J Clin Nutr.
- Al Sunni A & Latif Rabia, 2014, Effects of chocolate intake on Perceived Stress; a controlled Clinical Study, Int J Health Sci (Qassim), 8(4): 393 -401
- Teitelbaum J MD & Fielder Ch, 2015, The complete guide to beating sugar addiction, Fair Winds Press, US.
- Wirtz PH et al, 2014, Dark chocolate intake buffers stress reactivity in humans. J Am CollCardiol 63(21):2297-9