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10 Foods You Didn’t Know Can Chill You Out

10 Foods You Didn’t Know Can Chill You Out

Pretty much all of us are stressed out these days. Between increased work hours, family, money issues and homophobic jerks running Russia, it can be hard to relax. The good news is that what you put on your plate can help you feel more calm about the world: there are foods that reduce stress. So in the immortal words of Mr. Freeze…

    1. Black Tea

    Despite the fact that tea contains caffeine, a cup can actually help you to relax. I was ready to attribute this to tea being magical and able to fix anything, but it’s actually because it lowers your stress-hormone levels. In one study, participants were given either tea or a fake substitute and those who drank the real deal relaxed faster than those who didn’t. I’m of British heritage, so you don’t have to tell me to drink tea twice!

    2. Oranges

    Most of us know that vitamin C is good for us, particularly in regards to boosting our immune systems. However, it seems that its relaxation properties have been a closely kept secret. In fact, research has shown that large quantities of vitamin C can have a tranquilizing effect. Now that’s what I call stress relief.

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    In addition, oranges also contain vitamin B, which is known for combating stress.

    3. Milk

    Milk is high in essential nutrients, and can also effect our mood! For the record, I’m referring to ordinary milk, not the stuff from A Clockwork Orange. Milk contains iodine, which is essential for adequate thyroid function. This is incredibly important because your thyroid gland regulates the majority of your body’s functions, including your mood. In addition to this, the whey protein present in milk is said to alleviate anxiety and thus help you relax.

    Warm milk is also known for its calming and sleep-inducing effects; however, research has shown that this is almost entirely psychosomatic. Oh well, if it works, it works!

    4. Blueberries

    Ironically named, blueberries will actually help you to fight off the blues.

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    As previously mentioned, vitamin C is a great stress combatant. Blueberries also contain high volumes of the vitamin, which therefore makes them useful to fight stress. In fact, one study has shown that people with higher levels of vitamin C in their bloodstreams showed less signs of mental and physical stress when given challenges.

    5. Nutritional Yeast

    Alright, so this is a slightly ‘unique’ addition, but I promise it’s not as gross as the name suggests.

    Nutritional yeast contains vitamin B6, which helps to produce hormones that induce feelings of well-being. In addition, it contains vitamin B12, which helps with stress relief. Studies also suggest that various B vitamins help us ladies to calm down whilst suffering from PMS. I’m not sure I know how to respond to that.

    6. Brazil Nuts

    Delicious and NUTritious. (I apologize, that was uncalled for. I couldn’t help myself!)

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    Similar to milk, Brazil nuts can have an incredibly positive effect on your thyroid gland. This is because they contain a micro-nutrient called selenium that helps your body to function properly. The best part is that selenium is believed to have an almost instantaneous effect. That’s great news if you’re in a hurry to chill out.

      7. Avocado

      Can you really ever go wrong with avocado? The answer is, “No,” because it’s amazing. Avocados are full of vitamin C, vitamin B, folate, panothenic acid and vitamin B6. All of these nutrients are calming agents that will leave you feeling stress-free. The best part is that the fruit really does go with anything and therefore shouldn’t be restricted to salads. I have it in my morning smoothies and have made delicious ice cream out of it. I would also recommending trying avocado on toast with a drizzle of honey. Delectable!

      8. Fish

      Oily fish such as salmon and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to alleviate mild cases of depression and improve your mood. In addition, salmon also contains high quantities of vitamin B12, which helps your production of serotonin. This is one of the neurotransmitters that aids in feelings of well-being and will therefore help you to relax.

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      If you’re not a fan of fish, you can still get the same benefits from fish oil tablets.

      9. Spinach

      Popeye was right on the money with this one. Leafy greens such as spinach contain large quantities of folic acid, which can fight depression and alleviate feelings of fatigue. Furthermore, spinach also contains magnesium, which helps to maintain adequate levels of our old friend serotonin in your system. As we learned previously, this will assist you in chilling out.

      10. Dark Chocolate

      I swear I’m not just using this as a justification to indulge.

      Dark chocolate contains a group of chemicals called N-acylethanolamines that stimulate the channels to your brain. This results in them releasing some of those sweet, sweet endorphins that makes us feel so good. In addition to this, dark chocolate has been known to reduce anxiety in people who are prone to it. So go ahead and have some chocolate—just make sure it’s the dark variety and in a modest amount.

      More by this author

      Tegan Jones

      Tegan is a passionate journalist, writer and editor. She writes about lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on May 22, 2019

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

      One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

      In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

      Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

      1. Cat Camel Stretch

      Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

      Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

      Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

      Here’s a video to guide you through:

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      2. Go for a Walk or a Run

      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

      Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

      Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

      Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

      3. Jumping Jacks

      Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

      Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

      4. Abductor Side Lifts

      Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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      Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

      5. Balancing Table Pose

      This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

      Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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        6. Leg Squats

        Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

        Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

        The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

        7. Push Ups

        You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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        An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

        Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

        This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

        8. Bicycle Crunches

        There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

        Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

        9. Lunges

        Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

        Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

        This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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        10. Bicep Curls

        You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

        Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

        Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

        Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

        Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

        These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

        You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

        Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

        More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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