That’s right! There’s a strange and somewhat recently established word out there everyone should understand. That word is hangry, which means to suffer from feelings of anger or, if that’s too strong a word, impatience and frustration when you’re hungry. Young or old, most of us suffer from this syndrome from time to time – perhaps more frequently than we’d prefer to admit.
The scientific journal Plos One recently published the findings of a study performed by Prof Viren Swami, a social psychologist at Anglia Ruskin University (UK), who explored how hunger affects emotions as people go about their daily lives. The results show that the hungrier people felt, the more angry – or hangry – they became.
As most of us recognize, there is an anecdotal connection between hunger and irritability. But now that connection has found some scientific support and it appears blood sugar levels have a lot to do with it.
The Glycemic Index Explanation
The Glycemic Index is a value assigned to a food based on how quickly your body can convert the food into usable energy, or glucose. Simple carbohydrates – think refined sugar or bread – will fall on the high end of the glycemic index.
But when we consume foods that are high in fibre and/or protein such as raw veggies, nuts and eggs, we end up finding that our energy levels are elevated, and hunger pangs neutralised, for a longer period than when we consume high glycemic foods. Basically: a bit of quinoa, a cup of oatmeal or a sweet potato will give you better, more lasting energy than a can of Red Bull, a doughnut or a sugar-laced coffee.
The Importance of Breakfast
As you’ve probably heard, breakfast is very important to us all. When we skip breakfast, we’re almost asking for a one-way ticket to a destination that we’ll call hangry town.
So, do yourself a favour: wake-up 15 minutes earlier and start your day with a simple, low glycemic breakfast option such as a veggie omelette. You’ll feel all the better for it!
Protein is Anti-Hangry
Protein is anti-hangry because it helps keep you feeling fuller for longer. If you find your meals are short on protein, get creative. And remember that protein is not only found in meat. Nuts, eggs, quinoa, tofu, cheese and legumes are all good sources of protein.
Don’t Forget to Drink Water, Too
What is the most important “food” for healthy cells? Water! It’s also essential for keeping your energy at an optimal level. For an adult woman, aim for 1.5 to 2 litres per day. For an adult man, 2 to 2.5 litres.
This latter point cannot be emphasised enough. So don’t get hangry by going hungry!