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Healthy snacks, munchies that lift your mood

June 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
While the usual snacks and munchies might taste good going down, you may feel a bit guilty later, have tummy troubles or blood sugar down below your socks. The solution is to eat what experts call good mood munchies.

A great guilt-free snack is avocado. With a big dose of feel-good B vitamins and potassium, avocados have a smooth, creamy taste and also help to lower blood pressure.

Bell peppers are a powerhouse of vitamin C. That's important, as vitamin C can inhibit the stress hormone cortisol. Yellow peppers have the most, followed by red, then green.

Nuts make a great snack on a nutty day. Walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts are linked to heart health, weight management and a big boost in serotonin, a well-know feel-good brain chemical.

Chick peas and garbanzos blended up as hummus provide a fortress of folate, a B vitamin necessary to produce dopamine -- another one of the brain's neurotransmitters that signals pleasure.

Remember sunflower seeds back in school? They might have made a mess, but those kids had it right. Sunflower seeds are packed with magnesium, which is a mineral known for relaxing cells throughout your body.

And to give your body a natural high, think fatty fish. Wild salmon has been touted as a depression fighter as well as a fish that fights heart and other inflammatory diseases along with other proteins that contain tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid that the brain uses to make serotonin, which is known to make us feel more relaxed.

Along with these foods, liquid is responsible for more than thirst quenching. One study shows that dehydrated women felt fatigue, lack of focus and were generally unhappy. So make sure you drink up.