Your brain influences your happiness and what you feed your body fuels your brain. Have you ever been “hangry?” Here’s a solution: Feed your body, and your brain, the best snacks to boost your mood! When your head is fueled and in the right mindset, you’ll find study time comes much easier, you’ll have a more positive outlook on life, AND you’ll have more energy to apply for scholarships
Feed Your Brain and Your Gut
Scientists have found that feeding your brain Omega-3 fatty acids, and your gut with probiotic foods can actually boost your mood, fight depression and increase your productivity. According to an article in Harvard Health
, “Eating high-quality foods that contain lots of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants nourishes the brain and protects it from oxidative stress — the ‘waste’ (free radicals) produced when the body uses oxygen, which can damage cells.”
Blame Stress Eating On Your Ancestors
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Why do we find ourselves eating when we’re anxious? It goes back to our ancestors—we're talking your long-forgotten Stone Age family and their “fight or flight” survival instincts. Cleveland Clinic
adds light, “When you’re feeling stressed, your body sends out cortisol, known as the stress hormone. Cortisol can make you crave sugary, salty and fatty foods, because your brain thinks it needs fuel to fight whatever threat is causing the stress.”
In other words, we can blame our stress-hoarding food tendencies on the genetics passed down from our relatives—those Neanderthals!
Try These Happy Snacks
Next time you’re feeling down, hungry or anxious try grabbing a food that will help you be the best version of yourself. Here are ten mood-boosting foods you should consider eating:
1. Almond Butter
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Almonds are high in fiber and are packed with brain-healthy omega-3 fats. Spread some almond butter on apple slices for a sweet treat high in fiber and protein. Now THAT’S a win-win!
Here’s another food you probably have at home. High in fiber, crunchy, sweet and tart--apples are a cheap snack to have on hand!
Rich in antioxidants your cells will thank you for the hitting their refresh button.
Blueberries are a perfect way to add some color to your diet. The extra splash of color alone should add a smile to your face.
4. Chia Seeds
Did you know chia seeds are related the herb, mint? These tiny seeds are often used to thicken homemade puddings. Though they’re small, they’re packed full of omega-3s, fiber, antioxidants and much more. Check out this Tasty how-to video
and try some chocolate chia pudding for yourself.
5. Dark Chocolate
Did we have you at chocolate? A better choice than milk chocolate, there are many health benefits from dark chocolate if you eat it in moderation. According to a Healthline
article, “Cocoa or dark chocolate may improve brain function by increasing blood flow. It also contains stimulants like caffeine and theobromine.”
Enjoying a few pieces of chocolate can release those happy hormones—serotonin. Pair it with some walnuts for a sweet and savory treat!
6. Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are powerful! Their small size makes them easy to enjoy as a snack. Full of vitamins (A,C,K) and high in antioxidants, they also help protect against cancer.
Interesting side note: A Smithsonian Magazine
article shares, the tomato was thought to be poisonous only two hundred years ago. Many Europeans were terrified of tomatoes, calling them “poison apples!”
You really can’t go wrong with a strawberry. These are great room temp or frozen. Even better, dip a few in dark chocolate for a mood boosting dessert! Here’s the thing, you need to stop at five or six dark chocolate dipped strawberries. You can do it!
8. Sunflower seeds
These tiny seeds are not just for ballgames. Feed a happy brain; sprinkle these on your salad to add some crunch and flavor.
Walnuts have a delightful buttery taste and a nice crunch. High in omega-3 fatty acids, a handful is the appropriate serving size. A Today’s Dietitian
article suggests eating walnuts as part of a Mediterranean diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Happy minds and hearts—even better!
A high protein fermented food, this *almost* ice-cream like treat will help keep your gut healthy too. Doctors have linked healthy guts to happier people. According to a Psychology Today
article, “90 percent of serotonin is manufactured in the digestive tract and not the brain.” Mix it up with additional flavors but be careful that the yogurt isn’t too high in sugar.
Avoid Snack Regret
It’s easy to use food as a temporary fix when you’re sad. But grabbing the wrong food could lead to health problems and make things worse for you—we're talking sugar crashes that make you grumpy or boating that makes you feel annoyed. So, while you may want to grab a pint of ice cream for an “instant cure,” you could end up with a bad stomachache, boating, and feeling hungry again.
Instead of grabbing a temporary food fix. Try grabbing plant-based foods high in antioxidants and fiber. Or fermented foods that feed your gut. A Healthline
article suggests, “These liver microorganisms [probiotics] support the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut and may increase serotonin levels [the happy hormone].”
Fastweb Team Approved: Mood Lifting Snacks
We polled the Fastweb team to uncover our favorite mood boosting snacks. Dark chocolate was a top choice, followed closely by peanut butter. The word cloud below shows the variety of snacks our team picks to stay productive and happy.