Food holds a lot of power.
We look to it for comfort after a bad day at the office, to mend a broken heart and even to nurse us back to health. Since it can hold such sway over our emotions, well-being and health, it only makes sense that it could influence our money, too.
What you eat when you’re gearing up to pay bills, balance your budget or have “the money talk” with your partner could make all the difference.
We spoke with Susan Albers, Psy.D., author of Eating Mindfully and a psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, to examine how our food choices can influence our financial decisions. According to Albers, certain foods are better at altering brain and body chemistry, so you can focus on setting a budget, keeping your cool during a heated financial discussion and managing stress while paying bills.
Planning to tackle one of these major financial tasks? Eat these “superfoods” at least 20 to 30 minutes prior and you’re bound to be successful.
Paying Your Bills
Worrying over whether or not you can make ends revs up production of adrenaline and stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. When that happens, your heart rate and blood pressure spike, and your brain goes into overdrive … which means that it’s tough to focus on your finances. Thankfully, these foods can help you to stay calm and cool in the face of your bills:
Black Tea “Studies have indicated that people feel calmer, and have lower levels of cortisol after drinking a cup of black tea,” says Albers. British researchers found that people who drink black tea are able to de-stress better than those who wet their whistle with other teas and beverages.
Brazil Nuts and Cashews They’re high in zinc–a deficiency of which has been linked to both anxiety and depression. And which monthly task has the unfortunate tendency to cause anxiety? That’s right: paying bills. So use zinc to keep calm.
Oatmeal ”It’s great for regulating your blood sugar,” says Albers. “And maintaining level blood sugar helps you to remain calm and even keeled.” Instead of eating a candy bar that only provides a temporary boost of energy, consider a bowl of oatmeal, which will sustain you for hours.
Having the “Money Talk”
Whether you’re moving in together, getting engaged or just making sure you’re on the same page, all of that talking can take a toll on your energy–and ramp up your stress levels. Combat the side effects of this tough talk with these foods:
Spinach salad According to Albers, leafy greens are filled with folic acid, antioxidants and magnesium–“all of which are linked to a good mood.” That upbeat mood will come in handy when you and your mate sit down to discuss spending habits. “Add a serving of skinless grilled chicken, which a good source of tyrosine and protein,” she says. “These nutrients increase production of dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine–brain chemicals that are known to increase alertness and energy.”
Tuna “This fish is a good source of vitamins B6 and B12,” says Albers, explaining that B6 helps to maintain a healthy balance of serotonin, which regulates mood and fights depression. “B12 helps form GABA, a calming brain chemical.”