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How to Avoid Getting 'Hangry'

By Sara Butler

"Hangry" is the intersection where being hungry and getting angry collide! It’s not just a funny hashtag, hanger is a real experience rooted in your endocrine system. So, how can you avoid this frustrating state of being? Here are a few tips!

Why You Get Hangry

You have your ancient ancestors to thank for the hanger you experience. Hanger is a part of your body’s fight-or-flight response that helps you to secure food when you need it. Cortisol and adrenaline flood your system in order to help you “hunt” for food, which is why if you find yourself in this position you often reach for a sweet snack to get that blood sugar up in a hurry. The problem with this strategy is that after your insulin spikes, it has to crash; that puts you right back where you started: hangry. In other words, watch out world!

So, why is anger a part of it? When you’re hungry, your serotonin levels tend to fluctuate and if your serotonin is low, then your brain can’t optimally communicate. This results in poor coping mechanisms that leads directly to the anger.

How to Avoid Becoming Hangry

OK, so hanger is real -- you can stop feeling like a crazed lunatic now. The only thing left to do is find out how you can avoid it, not only for your sake but for those around you. To avoid hanger you should:

  • Plan ahead and make sure you get your meals at about the same time every day. Don’t let other obligations pull you away from meals that you need to eat or you’ll be boarding a one way trip to hanger town.
  • Have snacks handy. Raw nuts are a great thing to keep on hand in your purse or at your desk so you can snack on them when you feel yourself sliding into the throes of hanger.
  • Accept no substitutes, which means eat real food. Forget the processed food packed with sugar and fat because aside from being terrible for you, it’s not a long-term hanger solution.
  • Rest up. When you don’t get enough sleep you are just setting yourself up to experience an increase in hunger, which can result in hanger, which then may lead to overeating.
  • Drink plenty of water! Sometimes thirst disguises itself as hunger. When you feel hungry, have a nice big glass of water and then find yourself a good, wholesome snack.

Think of controlling your hanger as not only something that’s good for you, but those around you too! 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Clayton, Mo.

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