Saturday, April 19, 2008

Moody Foody. . .

Stressed? Sluggish? Moody? Relief may be as close as your local supermarket. That's 'cuz what you eat affects how you feel. So what foods will put you in a good mood? Take a look...

FEELING FOGGY? If you're finding it hard to concentrate and feel like your mind is a pile of goo, you may want to snack on some protein-rich foods. Foods like cheese, soy products and lean meat are great for making you feel alert, energized and ready to take on the day. So if your brain's feeling a bit foggy, just nibble on some low-cal string cheese, a veggie burger, or some lean skinless chicken or turkey breast. You may be thinking more clearly in no time.

THE ULTIMATE MOOD LIFTER A little chocolate can fix anything, right? It's sweet, delicious and creamy, and it seems to make us feel a lot better once we've eaten it. Well, it turns out chocolate's mood-boosting ability is not all in our heads -- eating the sweet stuff really does make us feel happy, content and soothed. Why? The fat, sugar, and high amounts of tryptophan found in chocolate work together to raise serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. The result? Your mouth will be happy -- and so will the rest of you. Keep chocolate portions in check with a 6g-of-fat Trader Joe's 100 Calorie Milk Chocolate Bar (POINTS® value 3*).

STABILIZE MOOD SWINGS Do you go from laughing to crying in a matter of seconds? Curbing mood swings may be as easy as drinking water. That's because dehydration can play a big part in emotional stability. If you don't get those recommended 8 - 10 cups of water a day, you might just find yourself sweatin' the small stuff. So drink up!

STOP FEELING SLUGGISH Tired and lethargic all the time? Find it hard to get going in the morning? You may want to whip up some scrambled eggs or an omelette. That's because eggs are a great source of zinc, a substance that makes you feel more awake, energized and engaged by helping to regulate blood sugar. For an eggy fix without too much fat, check out Egg Beaters with Yolk in original and flavored varieties -- a 1/4-cup serving (the equivalent of 1 egg) has 40 calories and 1.5 - 2g fat (POINTS® value 1*).

NIX NERVOUSNESS Stressed? Nervous? Anxious? Soothe your nerves with some skim milk or a handful of almonds. Both foods are rich in calcium, and calcium is great for reducing anxiety and making you feel calm and relaxed. For a portion- controlled almond fix, check out Blue Diamond's 100-calorie packs (9g fat, 2g fiber, and a POINTS® value of 2*) -- there are 50mg of stress-busting calcium in each pack. Or sip some Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze -- 1 cup has 40 calories, 3g fat, and 1g fiber (POINTS® value 1*), and it serves up 20% the RDA of calcium.

SNACK HAPPY Salmon and strawberries may be nature's equivalent of Prozac and Zoloft. That's because folate-rich foods cause a boost in serotonin levels in the brain, much like antidepressants do. So the next time you're feeling depressed, grill some salmon, or treat yourself to a bowl of strawberries. Chances are, you'll turn that frown upside down in no time. BTW, a serving of Chicken of the Sea's canned pink salmon mixed with a teaspoon of Vivi's Original Sauce in Classic Carnival Mustard makes us VERY happy, and that snack has just 65 calories and 2g fat (POINTS® value 1*).
TAME YOUR TEMPER Feeling angry? Reach for a grapefruit, some grapes, an apple or some carrots! All four of these great-tasting foods are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber that lowers blood cholesterol. Another plus? When you're angry, your body kicks into fight-or-flight mode, causing your heart rate, adrenaline levels and blood pressure to increase. But pectin reverses these effects and helps your system return to normal. Get a pectin fix with HG's Sweet 'n Chunky Chicken Salad -- it's packed with grapes and apples, and a full cup has just 145 calories and 1.5g fat, plus a gram of fiber.

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