13 Basic Foods To Solve Some of Your Problems

As university students, we have a lot of problems. We have those headaches that come from lack of sleep (we had to finish that term paper), and then we’re not able to sleep (counting sheep sucks), and we end up breaking out and feeling blah. So we rely on Advil. And coffee. Usually a combination of the two.

But what if I told you that you can solve a lot of these problems through what you eat?

It’s true.

No more stocking up on pills like you’re running a pharmacy out of your dorm room. This list of thirteen foods has you covered.

1. If you have a headache…

Photo by Torey Walsh

…look for foods with MAGNESIUM.

Magnesium is known to decrease blood pressure and relax blood vessels, both of which help to manage headaches. This element can be found in foods such as nuts (e.g. almonds), avocados, and natural yogurt. Still achy? Remember to drink plenty of water and fluids as well.

2. If you can’t sleep…

Photo by Jenny Georgieva

…try eating foods that boost MELATONIN.

For those people that struggle with insomnia (or just regular teenage sleep-deprivation), try eating foods that boost melatonin before bed. This is the hormone that your body releases to cause drowsiness prior to sleep. Foods that help boost melatonin include everything from pineapples, bananas, and oranges to oats and rice. Sleepless nights no longer.

3. If your throat is sore…

Photo by Sarah Silbiger

…try foods with ANTI-INFLAMMATORY properties.

When I was younger, my mom swore by lemon and honey tea to cure a sore throat. As per usual, Mom knew best. I still reach for tea before painkillers. Foods such aslemon and honey reduce swelling in the throat, making it easier for you to breathe. This is why chicken noodle soup is also a good option. Yes. It really works. Learn how to make it here.

4. If you have cold hands and feet…

Peanut Punch

…you could be low on IRON.

Iron is like a good pair of Gap jeans: a necessary staple in your life, but often overlooked for more glamorous options. We’re looking at you, Protein. That being said, a lack of iron can lead to complications, such as poor circulation and anemia. Sound scary? That’s because it is.

As a vegetarian, I am constantly monitoring my iron levels. Most iron is found in things like chicken liver and beef, both of which sound as appetizing to a vegetarian as bourbon with pickle juice (although apparently that’s a real thing). If you can eat meat, make sure to include these things as part of your day. If you can’t eat meat, check out pumpkin seeds, nuts, and dark greens (e.g. spinach) to get your daily iron intake.

5. If you feel sad…

Photo by Christin Urso

…Eat foods that stimulate DOPAMINE production.

If you need an excuse to eat chocolate, here it is. This treat is capable of increasing dopamine, a compound that lifts your mood and creates a sense of happiness. Trying to eat healthy? Foods such as eggs, turkey, kale, and apples contain tyrosine, an amino acid that is broken down to create dopamine. That’s right. An apple a day really will keep the doctor away.

6. If your stomach aches…

Photo by Joceyln Hsu

…then GINGER should be your new BFF.

Ginger has been known to cure everything from regular stomach aches to motion sickness. Whether you choose to gnaw on raw ginger or put it in your tea, this food promises to reduce stomach pain. Say goodbye to digestion problems and aches.

7. If you’re breaking out…

Photo by Christin Urso

…switch to VEGETABLES.

There’s no specific food that fights breakouts, but you can help prevent them by switching to a healthy diet of vegetables, fish, and whole grains. Foods to avoid include too much dairy and fatty foods. Ditch the weekly McDonald’s run and opt for this Grapefruit Shrimp Salad instead. Yum.

8. If you feel weak and scattered…

Photo by Christin Urso

…you could be low in PROTEIN.

With all of the fad diets promoting protein consumption (hi, Paleo diet), most people consume an adequate amount of protein. Foods such as fish, eggs, and chickenare all good sources of this macro-nutrient. However, vegetarians are at risk for not consuming enough protein. If you’re feeling tired and foggy, try and introduce morequinoa, beans, and chia seeds into your diet.

Read all 13 tips at SpoonUniversity