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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.

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      Tegan Jones

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

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      Last Updated on August 12, 2019

      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

      Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

      But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

      I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

      Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

      1. Nuts

      The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

      Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

      Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

      Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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      2. Blueberries

      Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

      When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

      3. Tomatoes

      Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

      4. Broccoli

      While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

      Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

      Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

      5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

      Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

      The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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      Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

      6. Soy

      Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

      Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

      Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

      7. Dark Chocolate

      When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

      Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

      8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

      Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

      B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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      Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

      Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

      To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

      9. Foods Rich in Zinc

      Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

      Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

      Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

      10. Gingko Biloba

      This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

      It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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      However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

      11. Green and Black Tea

      Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

      Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

      Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

      12. Sage and Rosemary

      Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

      Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

      When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

      More About Boosting Brain Power

      Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

      Reference

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