Your brain depends on a variety of nutrients to keep itself balanced. Cheetos and beer are not on the list. The scoop on six snacks that will help kick your mind into gear.
Your Mood: Anxious
You need to stay sharp through a grueling job interview.
Your Meal: Half a grilled-chicken wrap at lunch, hold the mayo
Here's Why: Eating between 4 and 5 ounces of protein helps your brain create dopamine and norepinephrine, neurochemicals that keep you alert, says Judith Wurtman, Ph.D., author of The Serotonin Power Diet.
Your Mood: Stressed
You have to meet a deadline without being overwhelmed.
Your Meal: A handful of sesame seeds while you're working
Here's Why: Stress hormones can deplete your body's supply of magnesium, reducing your stress-coping abilities and increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of Food & Mood.
Your Mood: Restless
You need some serious shut-eye before the big day.
Your Meal: Nonfat popcorn half an hour before you go to bed
Here's Why: The carbs will induce your body to create serotonin, a neurochemical that makes you feel relaxed. "Make sure it's fat-free, because fat will slow the process of boosting serotonin levels," says Somer.
Your Mood: Depressed
Problems at home are doing you in.
Your Meal: Grilled salmon or sushi for dinner
Here's Why: A study in Finland found that people who eat more fish are 31 percent less likely to suffer from depression. And skip sweet, simple carbs -- the inevitable sugar crash can actually deepen depression.
Your Mood: Insecure
Your confidence is waning as the night wears on.
Your Meal: A snack-size chocolate bar when she's in the bathroom
Here's Why: Chocolate contains a host of chemicals to brighten your mood, Somer says, including anadamine, which targets the same receptors as THC, and phenylethylamine, which produces a cozy, euphoric feeling.
Your Mood: Flummoxed
You've forgotten your last two deadlines.
Your Meal: Pineapple chunks for a snack or a cup of berries in your oatmeal
Here's Why: Antioxidants from the most-colorful fruits and vegetables help pick off the free radicals that wear away at your memory. "Because your brain consumes so much oxygen, oxidants do heavy damage there," says Somer.[via menshealth]