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“Grab the ice cream and bring on the chocolate!” While this maybe a typical response to a bad mood for many, studies have shownthat eating junk food can actually make you feel even worse. Infact, there are both physical and emotional side effects of chowingdown on unhealthy foods that may make you want to rethink yourdecision to overindulge.

But if it tastes good, then why is it bad?

Foods loaded with fat, calories and carbohydrates typically havelittle nutritional benefit. While the first few bites are packedwith pleasure, it’s the aftermath that leaves a sad and emptyfeeling. When consuming foods filled with sugars, the highs maymake you feel good for the moment, but once they wear off, thecrash leaves you wanting to repeat the nasty cycle. Many culinary schools, elementary andsecondary schools have all tested this concept and found that whenonly healthy foods are served in the cafeteria, it has a notedpositive impact on the performance, concentration and overallbehavior of the students.

Effects on the mind and body

The most common effects include:

* Depression

* Blood sugar highs and lows

* Memory loss

* Weight gain

* Mood swings

Why can some food make you happy?

While most people don’t crave things like baby carrots orbroccoli when in search of comfort foods, these healthier optionscan actually make you happier. When you choose foods rich in Omega3, folic acid, vitamin B12 or selenium, a remarkable increase inenergy can cause a more positive transformation than the junk foodyou may crave.

Make these your five new comfort foods:

1. Blueberries: Their sweet and juicy flavor makes themextremely palatable, but the value of blueberries is more than skindeep. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants like blueberries hasbeen linked to a lower risk of cancer and many studies show thatthere is actually an element of vision preservation involved aswell. Try eating them by the handful or mix them in a fruit orgreen salad.

2. Bananas: Bananas are one of the healthiest and easiest to eatsnacks out there, contained in their own perfect natural packaging.They contain tryptophan and when consumed this becomes serotonin, achemical proven to improve mood. The healthy carbohydrate levelalso improves energy as well. Bananas are great on their own but ifyou want a change, try putting them in your oatmeal in the morningand heating them up along with it. As many learn in culinary college, whenfruit heats up, the natural sugars make the taste even sweeter.

3. Nuts: Great for snacking and great for your body. Nutscontain selenium, protein and vitamin E, which help to combatstress and leave you feeling energized. Many different types ofnuts come in easy-to-carry packaging that fits comfortably in apurse or briefcase. When you are in need of a quick energy or moodboost, count on these powerhouses to take you on the road torecovery fast.

4. Broccoli: The vitamin B and folic acid content in this greenwonder food has been found to have a great impact on mood.Broccoli’s beta carotene, antioxidants and vitamin C have been saidto lower the risk of cancer, heart attack and cataracts, whilehelping to balance overall health and disposition. While the amountof calcium in a single serving of broccoli is less than that in aglass of milk, it is still a notable amount and a great way forthose who do not consume dairy to get this important nutrient.Great in salads or paired with a low calorie dressing, the benefitsof broccoli make this green veggie easy to swallow.

5. Chocolate: And finally, what all junk food lovers have beenwaiting to hear. But before you get too excited, it is important tonote that while chocolate – of the dark variety especially – ispacked with many health benefits, moderation is the key. Pastry classes are a great way to explore the variety ofoptions, even healthy ones, in making desserts with chocolate. Darkchocolate is also rich in antioxidants that have been linked toheart health and has also been said to increase glucose tolerance.It’s also rich in carbohydrates which help the brain to releaseserotonin at a faster rate.

Next time you are feeling weak or a bit down in the dumps,forget the chips and grab any one of these five fantasticsnacks.

Information in this article was provided by Le Cordon BleuCollege of Culinary Arts in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Contact LCB -Minneapolis today if you’re interested in developing marketableknowledge and career-relevant skills with an industry-currentdegree program. (Le Cordon Bleu does not guarantee employment orsalary.)

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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