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Sunday, July 31

5 Best Snacks for Mood

Looking for food to change your mood? Tired of the usual comfort food like chocolates you are binging when bad hair day comes?

Well, this is a good news for you and me! :)

Just read on...

Bananas offer serious mood-lifting power, with their combination of vitamins B6, A, and C; fiber; tryptophan; potassium; phosphorous; iron; protein; and healthy carbohydrates.
When you eat a banana, you'll get a quick boost from the fructose as well as sustaining energy from the fiber, which helps prevent a blood sugar spike and ensuing drop in energy and mood. Carbohydrates aid in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain, and vitamin B6 helps convert the tryptophan into mood-lifting serotonin. Bananas are also a great source of potassium. Although potassium isn't directly related to mood, it's needed to regulate fluid levels and keep muscles working properly, which is important for feeling energized, a key factor for a sunny outlook. And finally, bananas also offer iron, which is crucial to producing energy and fighting fatigue.
Best of all, bananas are available year-round and are easy to tote -- just make sure to pack them on top!
Get even happier: Bananas are among the best when it comes to mixing and matching mood-boosting snacks. For a sunny smoothie, blend a banana with one handful of spinach, a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, and half a cup of apple juice. Spinach is one of the richest food sources of folate (vitamin B9) you can find, and flaxseed is full of omega-3s. When combined, these nutrients help maintain stable levels of brain serotonin and may help reduce your risk of depression.
For a sweet treat, try a frozen dark chocolate-covered banana, which you'll find in the freezer section of many natural foods stores. Or melt your own dark chocolate at home to dip banana slices in for a satisfying, mood-lifting fondue.
Walnuts contain a handful of components that contribute to a good mood, including omega-3s, vitamin B6, tryptophan, protein, and folate.
Higher blood levels of omega-3s have been linked with better mood and lower rates of depression, while lower blood levels of omega-3s have been associated with higher rates of depression and negative feelings. An animal study authored by Harvard Medical School Professor William Carlezon found that omega-3s and uridine (another substance found in walnuts, which plays an important role in helping metabolize carbohydrates) worked in the same way as standard antidepressant medications.
The standard dosage of omega-3 oils recommended by many experts is one gram (1,000 mg) per day. You'll get about the same amount, as well as a healthy dose of fiber and protein, in just half an ounce of walnuts. About two teaspoons of walnut oil will also do the trick, but you won't get the all the nutrition you would from the whole nut.
Get even happier: Crumble walnuts on top of a serving of organic yogurt for a crunchy and creamy treat with a double-dose of tryptophan.
Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are a super source of folate and magnesium, two substances that play a significant role in regulating and boosting mood. Just a handful of sunflower seeds delivers half the daily recommended amount of magnesium.
Magnesium, in addition to regulating mood, plays an essential role in hundreds of bodily functions. Magnesium deficiency is often responsible for feelings of fatigue, nervousness, and anxiety (since it triggers an increase in adrenaline), and it's been linked to various mood disorders. Sufficient, stable magnesium levels, on the other hand, help us achieve a calm and relaxed state, the perfect precursor to a good mood. It's so effective, in fact, that scientific studies have shown magnesium supplementation to be beneficial in treating major depression, suicidal tendencies, anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
Folate (also known as vitamin B9 and as folic acid) is a B-complex vitamin that's intimately linked with nervous system function. Folate deficiency may result in feelings of irritability, depression, and brain fog, as well as insomnia. Being well rested and keeping a clear head are two of the primary factors in fueling a good mood, so snacking on sunflower seeds is a smart move in more ways than one.
Sunflower seeds are a good source of tryptophan and are often recommended by nutritional experts as a natural method of boosting serotonin levels. They're also rich in fiber, which helps maintain stable hormone levels -- one of the keys to keeping even-keeled.
Get even happier: Try this homemade trail mix to blast the blues: Sift sunflower seeds together with almonds, Brazil nuts, raisins, and dark chocolate chunks. Brazil nuts contain selenium, another natural mood booster.
Dark Chocolate
A number of unscientific studies name chocolate the number-one craved food in America, so it makes sense that indulging in chocolate makes for a happy experience. And, as it turns out, there are some real reasons why that's so. For one, chocolate contains a number of substances that elevate mood, including fat, sugar, caffeine, phenylethylamine, flavonols, theobromine, and tryptophan.
Caffeine and theobromine are two naturally occurring stimulants found in chocolate. Along with sugar and fat, these substances provide a swift burst of energy and mood-lifting power. Chocolate also contains the mood-boosting compounds phenylethylamine, tyramine, tryptophan, and magnesium. While these substances are found in many other foods, even in higher concentrations, chocolate has an advantage because of its appeal on several sensory levels: it has a rich, mouth-pleasing texture; an intense taste; and an appealing aroma. For many of us, just the idea of indulging in chocolate is enough to elicit a positive emotional response.
In addition to these natural pick-me-ups, when you eat chocolate, a number of reactions occur, including the release of serotonin in the brain and mood-elevating endorphins in the body. This heady combination can result in a temporarily lifted mood and even a fleeting feeling of euphoria, which may explain why some people turn to chocolate when they're feeling blue.
Finally, cocoa is a natural source of antioxidant flavonoids, which increase blood flow (and thus oxygenation) in the brain, and which may contribute to better brain function. Not all chocolate is created equal, though. For the best health and happiness benefits, go for good-quality dark chocolate with a cocoa level of 70 percent or higher. The more cocoa it contains, the higher the levels of healthy compounds, so the darker the chocolate, the better it is for you.
Get even happier: Chocolate-covered almonds are a decadent snack full of fiber, vitamin E, potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, tryptophan, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin). Almonds help lower the glycemic index of the chocolate, preventing a spike in blood sugar and its resultant low energy and mood. In fact, fiber, manganese, copper, and B2 are power players when it comes to energy production -- and steady energy is a must for a happy mood.
Eggs might not be the first food that comes to mind when you think of a snack, but a hard-boiled egg is easy to make and easy to transport. It's also a really good-for-you and good-for-your-mood snack. Full of high-quality protein and omega-3s (from hens eating a diet rich in omega-3s), eggs are also an excellent source ofvitamin B12 (riboflavin) and a good source of vitamins B2, B5, and D. And one boiled egg contains more than 20 percent of the daily recommended amount of tryptophan.
While carbs are crucial for converting tryptophan into serotonin, protein is an important part of the process, too. A balanced diet that includes high-quality lean protein, like you find in eggs, and healthy carbs also helps stabilize blood sugar and prevent emotional highs and lows. And the Vitamin B12 in eggs plays a significant role in the production of energy and helps alleviate memory problems and symptoms of depression.
Get even happier: Add your egg to whole-grain toast for a satisfying snack that will give you a boost of long-lasting energy and fuel a feeling of well-being. Complex carbohydrates are an ideal pairing for protein-rich eggs, since they temporarily produce a calming effect by delivering a dose of tryptophan and triggering the production of serotonin. Carbohydrates also aid in the absorption of tryptophan in the brain.
Now we know! So maybe next time, we will just  eat all of it to be more happier and in good mood always? 

The 10 Biggest Skin Mistakes You Can Make

According to Leslie Baumann, M.D. of Yahoo Health.

1. Using tanning beds. In case you haven’t heard, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified tanning beds as a known carcinogen (i.e. cancer-causer). And if you want to accelerate the formation of wrinkles and/or get skin cancer and unsightly brown spots, using a tanning bed is the best way to do it.
2. Not using SPF daily. One unpublished study by Unilever showed that using just SPF 5 every day for five years prevented significant sun damage. Do yourself and your skin a favor and use a moisturizer with at least SPF 15. You’re moisturizing anyway, right? Most people do not apply enough sunscreen, so using an SPF of 15 should give you at least an SPF of 5.
3. Getting too much sun. 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun a few times a week can help your body get its vitamin D fix, but if you’re sitting outside at Starbucks for an hour a day without sunscreen, your skin will remind you years from now.
4. Using the wrong cleanser. If dryness is an issue, a foaming cleanser will only make matters worse. Two of the best cleansers for dry skin are Estée Lauder Soft Clean Tender Crème Cleanser and CeraVe hydrating cleanser. Oily types beware! A cleanser that’s too rich can send oily skins’ sebaceous glands into overdrive. The best cleanser for oily skin is a foaming cleanser such as Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Gel. Combination skin types will like Paula’s Choice Hydralight One Step Facial Cleanser. If you do not know whether your skin is oily or dry, take the free quiz at (Lists of cleansers that are best for each skin type can also be found in my bestselling book, The Skin Type Solution.)
5. Not using a retinoid. I am often asked “What is the best night cream to prevent aging?” In my opinion, the family of vitamin A creams known as retinoids are the best night creams and I believe that everyone over the age of 20 should be using aretinoid at night. This may help prevent aging and will smooth wrinkles you already have along with preventing acne and exfoliating the skin.
6. Over-exfoliating. How do you know how much to exfoliate? The answer is… It depends on your Baumann Skin Type. If your skin is dry, too much exfoliation strips lipids from the skin, and sensitive types can experience even more inflammation. Exfoliation is best for oily, resistant types.
7. Using daytime moisturizer if you have oily skin. If you’re on the oily side, skip the moisturizer and go straight to the sunscreen. Sunscreens have hydrating ingredients and very oily types make their own fatty acids, so they don’t need a moisturizer. (If you have dry spots, apply moisturizer only to those areas.) Everyone’s skin feels tight after cleansing, since it takes about 30 minutes for oil glands to replenish the skin—so see how your skin feels after 45 minutes and then you’ll know if you need moisturizer. Even better, take the quiz to determine if your skin is oily.
8. Paying too much for skincare. Are expensive skincare products better? You don’t always get what you pay for. Check out this article to learn when to save and when to splurge on skin care products.
9. Not knowing your skin type. If you don’t know your Baumann Skin Type, you’re probably using the wrong products. Using the right ingredients can make a significant difference in the appearance of your skin.
10. Not getting a full-body skin exam every year. Think of this as a birthday present for your birthday suit—especially if you’ve had two or more bad sunburns in your lifetime. 

A Reminder

 I was looking at old pictures for tomorrow's memes when I saw these particular photos.

And it suddenly reminds me its time to give my tot a dose for deworming.

That one belongs to my sis, she used it before her medical check-up when applying abroad.