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Healthy Facts

Happy habits

1. Pair Carbs With Protein. Your body digests carbs quickly, causing a blood-sugar spike. But once the carb-fueled blood sugar spike ends, you get irritable. Adding protein slows digestion so there’s no mood roller coaster. Try raisins (carbs) with peanuts (protein).

2. Choose Foods That Crunch. Some animal studies have shown that the act of chewing crunchy food boosts levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin. Nutritionists believe the same thing may happen in humans-that’s why munching carrots or whole wheat pretzels can make you feel better than eating soft bread (yummy as it may be).

3. Go Natural. Unprocessed foods-strawberries rather than strawberry-flavored fruit snacks-provide more of the nutrients your body needs to make mood-boosting brain chemicals. (Plus, there is some evidence that artificial coloring and additives may negatively affect your mood.)

4. Reach For Foods With Healthy Fat. Some studies have shown that people who follow very low-fat diets have increased levels of frustration and anxiety. So don’t always go for fat-free foods. In fact, the unsaturated fat in things like avocado and nuts is necessary for your brain to stay in happy mode.

Mood-boosting munchies

1. Chocolate. Yup, that’s right-chocolate has a combination of chemicals that’s been shown to increase feelings of euphoria and decrease stress.

2. Skim Milk. Moo-juice has whey protein, and studies suggest that this type of protein can decrease stress and enhance your mood. Whey cool!

3. Spinach. Popeye’s fave has folate (it’s also in citrus fruit and beans.) Low level of the vitamin have been linked to depression, so it’s smart to factor in folate.

4. Salmon. This fish has omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent the blues by keeping your brain cells healthy. Almost as good are soy milk and walnuts.

{Goldstein, Jennifer. “Happy Habits.” Cosmo Girl. Feb. 2008: 52.}

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