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What to eat to heal a broken heart, according to a nutritionist

Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus weren’t wrong. Nothing breaks like a heart. 

Yet whilst we’re all for creative artistry and now can’t seem to get the song lyric out of our heads, the biologists amongst us will be quick to point out that by sheer anatomy, your heart doesn’t actually break when you experience what we call ‘heartbreak.’ It’s still very much whole, even if it feels like you are bleeding through the cracks. 

But that’s not the point. 

broken heart
Image Credit: Jesse Orrico/Unsplash

The point is, this February (and subsequently, this Valentine’s Day), we wanted to switch things around a little, and give a little loving to those of us who are not lighting candles and swimming in a sea of bath bombs whilst spoon-feeding chocolate mousse to our beloved, or whatever. 

Nay, this February (and begrudgingly, this Valentine’s Day), we’re embracing acts of love and self love. Mindfulness has entered the building. Self-care is reaching out a hand. And heartbreak has no room in the temple that is the body of our best self. 

Wordy affirmations aside, we recently sat down with the ever-fabulous Dr. Priya Khorana, a Bangkok-based ACSM-accredited exercise physiologist and nutritionist, to chat all things broken hearts, and what to eat (or avoid) to heal and get through this difficult time. Spoiler alert: it shouldn’t just be ice cream tubs and pralines — but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a buffet for the broken-hearted. Read on. 

Image Credit: Jennifer Pallian/Unsplash

We are completely shattered. Our hearts are broken. We need to do a little damage control. What foods are good for heart health? And what should be avoided?

The list is pretty lengthy, but certainly include Omega 3s (wild-caught salmon, sardines, and tuna), extra virgin olive oil, walnuts and almonds (raw and unsalted), and an avocado per week. Also be sure to consume plenty of vegetables: the leafy greens (spinach, kale, collard greens) and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli and cauliflower). Try to include seeds in your diet, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds, and drink green tea. 

Foods to avoid include deep-fried foods, baked goods (yes — pastries, doughnuts, croissants, and biscuits), and canned or boxed foods. Steer away from high sodium condiments (like soy sauce and ketchup), as well as creamy dressings and non-dairy creamers. Also try to consume red meats in moderation.  

We just can’t face the world right now. We’re crying a lot. We’re losing a lot of water. What should we drink to replenish? 

Hot cocoa (with 100% raw cacao) can really boost your mood. Definitely also consume plenty of fluids, like hot tea and water. 

Image Credit: Jennifer Pallian/Unsplash

Our greatest wish is to crawl into a tub of ice cream and overdose right now, but that probably wouldn’t be the healthiest thing. Could you suggest some alternatives?

Nice cream! I make ‘ice cream’ with only fruit — think, blended frozen berries or mango or even bananas. For added flavour you can also add raw cacao, cacao nibs, and any crushed nuts to add texture. Here are several (dairy-free) recipes I like to use. 

We’re also having a lot of sleepless nights. Our energy levels are low. What should we eat to feel more energised?

Eat foods rich in carbohydrates, like whole grains, including barley, farro, quinoa, and brown rice. Of course, a few yummy naughty options also include pizza and bagels. 

I would suggest a healthy rice bowl with good fats (like salmon, avocado, and edamame), or a handful of nuts (raw unsalted walnuts and almonds) as a snack. 

Another great option is also Greek yogurt with berries, and a drizzle of 100% honey. One of my personal favourites is 100% natural peanut butter on a slice of toast with sliced bananas on top. Delish.  

broken heart food
Image Credit: Jennifer Pallian/Unsplash

You know what. We think we’re ready to get out there again. What should we do to look our best? 

Work out! It’ll make you look better, and — most importantly — feel better. When you feel good on the inside, your skin naturally glows. 

Staying hydrated is also essential for good skin and complexion, and incorporating a diet high in healthy fats and antioxidants can do wonders for the skin. 

Image Credit: Jennifer Pallian/Unsplash

And before we take on the world again, we have one last question we’d like to ask you. Set the record straight for us: can chocolate heal a broken heart?

No post-break-up diet is complete without (dark) chocolate. And it seems that there is a very good reason why this is helpful. Dark chocolate is rich in theobromine and serotonin — all of which boost mood!

You heard it here first. 

Dr. Priya Khorana is the CEO and founder of Lifestyle Nutrition Consulting co., ltd., and has been frequently featured in the media for her expertise in lifestyle transformation. Follow her exciting explorations on Instagram and Facebook for more. 

What to eat to heal a broken heart, according to a nutritionist

Lisa Gries

Creative Content Director, Bangkok

Lisa is the Creative Content Director at Lifestyle Asia Thailand. When she’s not knees-deep in SEO analysis or editorial calendars, you’ll likely find her in downward-facing dog at the yoga studio, or immersed in conversation at a secret bar in China town. Lisa writes mostly on dining, travel, and pop-culture, and is a huge fan of soup dumplings, Riesling, and power napping — in exactly that order.

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