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.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!1. Almond Butter 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! 2. Apples 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!3. Blueberries 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!” 7. Strawberries 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. 9. Walnuts 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! 10. Yogurt 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.
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