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10 Foods That Will Make You Happy Instantly

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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Tegan Jones

Commercial editor for global publications Gizmodo, Kotaku, Lifehacker & Business Insider.

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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