You are what you eat, or, rather, what you eat is directly linked to your mood. Whether it be decreasing mood swings or improving the way you sleep, food plays a direct role in the way you feel. Whatever the case, the nutrients in your food have been scientifically proven to have a direct impact on both your physical and mental health.

Grace Clark / Daily Nexus

Can’t seem to get your brain to shut off?

Whole grains, bananas or even a simple glass of milk can all help you get a good night’s sleep. The three foods contain tryptophan, an amino acid that acts as a natural form of sedative. Bananas additionally contain potassium, an essential natural nutrient to induce a deep sleep. Rather than spend money on expensive sleeping pills after yet another long night of lying awake, you can very easily reach for any one of these foods in your kitchen.

Pulling an all-nighter at the library again?

While coffee may be the obvious thing to reach for when you are forced to spend the night glued to your laptop at the library, you may want to reconsider. Fish and eggs not only provide your body with a burst of energy, but the two are also known to enhance your memory, saving you from wasting hour after hour rereading the same page in your notes.

Feeling anxious about exams or just life in general?

Chia seeds, fish oil, salmon and walnuts are all known to play a role in our central nervous system. The three contain omega-3, which is known to contribute to better overall health and produce feelings of calmness. Fish consumption in general has been linked to lower levels of anxiety and depression.

Need a pick-me-up after a particularly long day or quarter?

Green tea, dark chocolate and avocados have all been scientifically proven to contain depression-fighting properties. Containing nutrients such as theanine, serotonin and tryptophan, the three act as natural mood balancers. Not only will you feel physically ready for your week, but your mental health will also thank you for the changes in your diet.

Feeling hungry after a night in I.V.?

This would probably be the easiest decision to make, as nothing satisfies that craving quite like Freebirds or Domino’s Pizza does. While there are probably far healthier alternatives, there are times when you simply need some greasy food, and that’s okay.

The fact is, you need to listen to your body. Most of the time, it will tell you what it needs. Educate yourself; give your body the right ingredients to make your day as smooth as possible, whether that be a super-food to help you through that crazy day-long study-sesh or the reward of cheesy greasy goodness your body deserves after kicking butt on your midterm.

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