Seven life-changing foods

Monday, June 4, 2012
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Throughout your lifetime you will probably encounter many life-changing events and make-or-break opportunities, and preparing for these moments properly can help ensure your success. The foods you eat can help influence your mood, prepare your body and put you in the right frame of mind. Here are seven foods to help you achieve success.

Event: Job interview

What to eat: Soybeans
If you've got a big job interview coming up, it's easy for nerves to get the better of you. Fortunately, researchers at McGill University in Montreal have found that foods containing tryptophan (an essential amino acid) can give you that confidence boost you need to help things go well. While there are many good sources of tryptophan such as chicken and salmon, tryptophan-rich roasted soybeans or edamame beans are a handy food to snack on prior to your interview.

Event: Exam

What to eat: Breakfast cereal
In the lead up to exams, try eating a healthy diet packed with whole grains to help give your brain a boost. Whole grain breakfast cereals are not only a good source of energy to help keep you alert and focused, they are also a rich source of folate, which can help speed up information processing and memory recall. While not technically a food, you could also try popping in some chewing gum prior to your exam, as research has suggested that chewing on gum can improve test scores and improve memory by 35%.

Event: First date

What to drink: Chamomile tea
It's natural to feel anxious before a promising first date, whether you are worried about making a bad first impression or concerned about how well you will get on. However, don't be tempted to get some Dutch courage; instead, calm your nerves with a soothing chamomile tea beforehand. The calming effects of chamomile are so powerful that they have been found to reduce symptoms of mild to moderate generalised anxiety disorder, making curing pre-date jitters a cinch.

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Event: Trying for a baby

What to eat: Oysters
Perhaps the most life-changing event you will ever encounter is conceiving a child, and if you want to increase your chances of conception your diet can make all the difference. Oysters are a famous aphrodisiac due to their high quantities of zinc, which can stimulate the libido and enhance desire. However, not only can zinc get you in the mood, it is also essential for the fertility of both women and men. For women, zinc can prove vital for healthy ovulation and steady egg production, while in men zinc helps maintain healthy testosterone levels and is essential for healthy sperm production.

Event: Heated argument

What to eat: Walnuts
While most of the time disagreements can be resolved, serious or frequent arguments can damage relationships and impact on your happiness. Rather than living to regret words said in the heat of the moment, try to defuse an argument by controlling your anger. Research has shown that Omega-3 deficiency can contribute to aggressive behaviour, while a Japanese study has suggested that zinc may ease anger in women. To up your intake of both these nutrients, try snacking on walnuts when you feel your blood start to boil or to help you calm down before discussing a problem.

Event: Relationship breakdown

What to eat: Oily fish
The breakdown of a relationship can naturally lead to feelings of depression and negativity which can be hard to shake off. While these feelings are unavoidable and will take time to get over, to help get through this difficult time as best as you can try to up your intake of oily fish such as wild salmon and tuna, which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12, both of which can help to regulate the mood and ward off depression.

Event: Making big decisions

What to eat: Yoghurt
If you've got a big decision to make, whether to do with your career, relationship, health or finances, it's important to try to increase your mental clarity and focus to help you make the right decision. To help get yourself in the right frame of mind, try snacking on yoghurt which is rich in iodine and zinc, which can both help boost mental clarity and brain function. Researchers from Toronto University also found that the probiotic bacteria Lactobacillus casei found in some yoghurts can decrease anxiety, helping to put you in a calmer frame of mind for decision making.

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