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10 Foods That Will Make You Happy Instantly

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10 Foods That Will Make You Happy Instantly

Let’s face it, healthy food seems boring. Sure, they’re filled with healthy nutrients that our bodies need and could probably even help us lose weight if we threw a little exercise in. But where’s the fun? I’m sure that many of us would feel happier biting into an ice cream or a burger than a bland garden salad. Or at least we think we would.

The strange truth is that some foods are designed to hack our bodies into feeling happy. Even stranger is that they’re not all vegetables. That’s right, you can eat your feelings of happiness and actually enjoy the taste at the same time. With that in mind, let’s take a look at 10 foods that will make you happy, whilst being both healthy and fun to eat too!

1. Salmon

Salmon, and fish in general, are an amazing source of both nutrition and happiness. This is primarily due to its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve your mood and alleviate mild depression. Oily fish such as salmon also contain high levels of vitamin B12, which can help in the production of serotonin. This is one of the neurotransmitters that aids in feelings of well being.

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Not a fan of fish? No problem, just get your hands on some fish oil capsules for your daily dose of omega-3.

2. Spinach

Okay, I know I said I’d leave the vegetables alone, but there’s a reason that Popeye was all over this stuff. Spinach, along with other leafy greens, are high in folic acid, which is known to reduce fatigue and alleviate depression. They also contains high levels of magnesium, which is essential to maintaining adequate levels of serotonin. No wonder it made Popeye toot his horn!

3. Poultry

Chicken and turkey contain several amino acids that help you to maintain a happy mood. The first is trytophan, which helps to make serotonin. Be careful though, over indulging can result in feelings of sluggishness. The second is tyrosine, which aids the body in coping with stress. It also works as a building block for norepinephrine and dopamine, two of the neurotransmitters that are responsible for controlling your mood.

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4. Milk

In addition to having an abundance of nutrients, milk can also play an important role in our moods. The first is due to it containing iodine, which is important for proper thyroid function. The thyroid gland regulates almost the entirety of your body’s functions through the hormones it produces, including your mood. The second is due to the presence of whey protein in milk, which is said to alleviate anxiety. Got milk?

5. Brazil Nuts

Similar to milk, Brazil nuts can positively effect your thyroid function. This is because they are rich in selenium, a micronutrient that helps the body to function correctly and is usually only found in plants. The amazing thing about selenium is that it its believed to have an almost instantaneous effect. This makes the nuts perfect for a quick energy fix.

6. Chocolate

There’s a reason why you feel so happy and satisfied after indulging in this sweet treat, and that’s because of a group of chemicals found in chocolate called N-acyclethanoloamine. They stimulate channels in the brain to release endorphins – the body’s pain-relieving and pleasure feeling chemicals. So, if you have some chocolate you’ll subsequently feel happy. This is important, because feelings of well being are imperative to maintaining our cardiovascular systems.

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Despite its proven health benefits, we’re not giving you permission to inhale as much chocolatey goodness as your heart desires. Moderation is the key. Studies have shown that we need less than 7g per day, which equates to only 2 or 3 small pieces a week. So by all means, get those endorphins flowing, just don’t go crazy.

7. Chilis

This may sound preposterous, especially to those who aren’t fans of spicy food. But believe it or not, hot food can make you happy and provide you with a sense of well being. This is all thanks to a little chemical compound called capsaicin, which is what gives chili peppers their heat. When you eat something spicy the capasicin attaches itself to the pain receptors in the mucous membrane of your mouth and nose. Subsequently, the brain is told that it’s in pain, so it releases endorphins. Maybe that’s why some people like spicy food so much?

8. Honey

A sweet treat that is far healthier than sugar, honey can also have a positive impact on your mood. This is because it contains kaempferol and quercetin, chemicals which reduce inflammation in the brain and therefore helps to prevent depression. Honey also has has far less of an impact on your blood-sugar level, which means you won’t have a sudden
sugar crash that can leave you tired and depressed.

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9. Coconut

Coconut can be a fantastic way to keep yourself happy because of its high levels of triglycerides. These are fats that aid your mood and promote brain health. Be careful how you get your coconut dose though – coconut milk and coconut based desserts are quite unhealthy. Your best bet is unsweetened, natural pieces of coconut or coconut shavings.

10. Pasta

That’s right folks, pasta and other forms of carbohydrate rich foods can actually be good for you. They do call it comfort food for a reason. The carbs are great because they release energy slowly whilst simultaneously helping us to feel full and satisfied. In addition, pasta is full of protein which contains two important amino acids – L-pheny-lalanine and trytophan. As we’ve previously learnt, these release endorphins which help to elevate our mood.

It’s important to note that whole grains are a far healthier option when it comes to carbohydrates, so stick to multigrain or wholemeal bread, brown or basmati rice and wholegrain pasta.

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More by this author

Tegan Jones

Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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