We’ve heard it time and time again that sleep is so important for our wellbeing. On average, a person between the ages of 26-64 needs seven to nine hours every night. While that is easier said than done for most people, anxiety and stress should not be factors preventing you from getting that much needed and deserved shut eye. Anxiety disorders will affect an estimated 31 percent of adults in their lifetime, so it is not unlikely that you find yourself tossing and turning and not getting the adequate amount of rest needed because you can’t quiet your mind and the thoughts keep racing.

Of course, working out and meditating can help keep your worries at bay, but the foods we eat can also have a significant impact on our mental health. By incorporating the following into your diet, it can largely and positively change your mood for the better as well as improve brain function and gut health. Keep reading to learn exactly how these accessible foods at your grocery store can be beneficial in helping you calm your nerves and relax.

Dark chocolate

Though it may be more bitter than sweet, dark chocolate has the capability of reducing depressive symptoms in those who eat it daily. It is also able to increase serotonin and tryptophan levels in our bodies, which in turn leads to improved mental health.

Fermented food

New studies have shown that our mental health and anxiety symptoms can be correlated with our gut health, so eating foods with probiotics (good bacteria) such as miso, tempeh, sauerkraut, kefit and kimchi can nurture the gut-brain connection and reduce anxiety levels.

Cherries

A cherry on top of anything is always welcome, and with its rich amount of quercetin, that rings even truer. This antioxidant helps a person feel calm. Studies have noted in the past that eating five or more servings a day can be a mood booster.

Chamomile tea

Aside from the calming nature of sipping a hot cup of tea, chamomile has antibacterial, antioxidant and relaxant properties that assist the body in decreasing anxiety. The flavonoids found in chamomile can also help those with mood disorders.

Green tea

If Chamomile isn’t your preference, green tea also has numerous benefits. First, the L-theanine found in it is an amino acid that can improve your mood. The calming effect also can increase serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain which aids overall relaxation in the body. Research has shown that L-theanine reduces the heart rate when taken during an anxiety-ridden episode and can help lower cortisol levels caused by anxiety.

Omega-3 rich foods

Salmon, mackerel, sardines and shellfish are all rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which is great for overall physical health and improving the brain’s cognitive function. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you also decrease mood disorders.

Avocado

This versatile fruit is packed with nutrients including vitamin B6 and magnesium. Both help to produce serotonin in your brain, which in turn regulates anxiety and increases levels of happiness. They also have a substantial amount of Omega-3.

Nuts

Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts and so many more have healthy fats that are easily able to be digested. Eating a daily consumption also has benefits for overall brain growth and memory retention as well as the ability to reduce depressive thoughts.

Yogurt

Plain Greek yogurt has probiotics and can help with symptoms of stress and anxiety. The “healthy bacteria” assists the body in repairing damaged nerve tissue which is important to reduce those anxious feelings.

Turmeric

Add this spice to your cuisine to get the benefits of its active ingredient curcumin, which is key to reducing inflammation in the brain as well as oxidative stress. Curcumin is known to decrease anxiety while increasing blood antioxidant levels and preventing brain cell damage.

Whole Grains

Oats, barley and bran have prebiotics, which are necessary in the body so probiotics can thrive. Incorporating more whole grains in your diet can help serotonin receptors in your GI tract work better and also reduce risk of chronic disease.

Asparagus

This long-stemmed vegetable has a large amount of folate, which is important to have in the body to combat anxiety and depression. Asparagus is also loaded with potassium, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K and has chromium –the trace element needed for healthy skin, bone, muscle, hair and blood.

Turkey

It doesn’t need to be Thanksgiving to enjoy a turkey dinner. We all know that after that holiday meal, most find themselves taking a snooze, and it’s not from overeating. Turkey contains tryptophan, an amino acid that increases serotonin levels that enhances sleep and helps with mood relaxation within the body.

Leafy Greens

How many times have you heard or said, ‘Eat your greens’? Kale, arugula, spinach and Swiss chard, to name a few, have been proven to reduce stress levels with their beta-carotene, vitamin C and magnesium. All of these elements give the body antioxidants to support the brain and assist in lowering anxiety levels.

Milk

Milk does a body good and a mind even better. Drinking a glass of milk at night doesn’t only help children, its minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium impact a person’s anxiety and stress level. Magnesium has a calming affect that can reduce insomnia.

 

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Author Bio:

Alisandra Puliti is an NYC-based entertainment journalist with 15 years of experience. The Penn State University graduate has worked in the celebrity weekly world and most recently launched and grew the US entities for HELLO! + HOLA! Media. Throughout her tenure, she has attended red carpet events such as the Golden Globes, covered the backstage action at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and interviewed Hollywood’s A-list and royalty. (Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez being among her favorites!) She has also learned the tips and tricks of the stars’ skincare regimens along the way. As for herself, she swears by Goldfaden’s Doctor’s Scrub and Pure Start cleanser. Follow her travels and outings on Instagram and Twitter @apuliti.

Madeline Alcott is the founder of Petit Vour, a luxury vegan beauty box subscription and … It’s made with clean ingredients of course, and it never disappoints. A pioneer in clean beauty, Madeline expertly curates brands a products for Petit Vour and her community at large. We had the intimate pleasure of sitting down with Madeline to learn more about herself, her lifestyle and more.

What does clean beauty mean to you?

In a nutshell, it means safe and free of harmful ingredients. That leaves a lot up to interpretation, so it’s important that we are doing our utmost to carefully select the ingredients in our products. Transparency is essential in this process. At Petit Vour, our ingredient standard is very selective and we list our banned ingredients on our website for all to see.

How do you start your mornings?

I put on some cheery jazz and sip coffee on the balcony, catching up on the news, but also just relaxing before the day kicks into high gear.

What’s your go-to am beverage?

Pour over coffee, black.

What are your go-to daily beauty products and why?

I like to keep things simple and light, because I’m pretty active all day long. Moisturizer with SPF and eye cream are a must. For makeup, I typically just wear tinted lip balm and brow pomade.

How do you de-stress?

Daily hikes with my love and my dog-child, Maya

Favorite beauty trick?

Find reasons to be joyful every day. When you’re happy, your eyes and skin will look so bright and awake. Also, keep your eye cream in the fridge!

Favorite mood-boosting meal?

Vegan tacos and jalapeno margs on the balcony

What’s a dinner recipe you currently have on repeat?

Tacos, for sure! We roast sweet potatoes, stir fry peppers and onions, and pile on the pinto beans, homemade guacamole, vegan sour cream and hot sauce.

What is your daily mantra?

To be bold and be kind. It’s a reminder to speak my mind and live a life that’s authentic, while also being considerate of my impact on the world around me.

How do you practice sustainability?

So many ways! My partner and I share a Prius Prime, which fortunately means we almost never have to fill up the tank. We use all of our own bags when we shop. We even bring our own cloth produce bags and glass jars for shopping the bulk aisle at the grocery. We also have committed to only using zero waste home-cleaning products.

Any advice for people wanting to make the switch towards a more mindful existence (increased wellness) but who are not sure where to start?

I think a great way to start is with what you put on our plate. Try out wholesome, feel-good recipes (I love Oh She Glows and Minimalist Baker), savor every bite, and make little goals to inch your evolution along. Look around your home and identify where the waste is and pay attention to future purchases. I try to keep my purchases low, so that when I do make a purchase I am more inclined to spend a little more to support a company that has really sound ethics.

Spring is here, summer is on its way, and it is the perfect time to take extra care of our skin and prep for that desired summer glow. Healthy and glowing skin starts from within through exercise, a healthy diet, proper sleep, and there are also multiple things that you can do for your skin topically to keep it looking fresh and youthful-looking. With skincare, consistency is key so implementing healthy habits into your daily routine is the best way to reach your skin goals.

We enlisted Dr. G to give us the tips on how to maintain my soft, healthy, and glowing skin from the inside out.

What level SPF do you recommend patients to wear every single day, and why? 

The protection is all factored on the time spent in the sun. SPF, short for “Sun Protection Factor” primarily measures UVB protection. When one wears an SPF 30 for example, you could stay out in direct sunlight for 30 times longer before UVA/UVB damage occurs than a person with no sunscreen. This is how SPF factor’s are designated. However, this is dependent on the individual’s skin. The key to proper sun protection is the reapplication throughout the day. There is NO one miracle sunscreen that covers and protects you completely throughout the day. Everyone should be wearing an SPF 30 daily. When outdoors in direct sun or swimming reapplication is crucial.

A physical sunscreen is always better in my opinion than a chemical one. Chemical sunscreens, due to the nature of having to be absorbed into the skin, can interact and cause irritation rashes or clogged pores. Another downside to a chemical sunscreen is that the sun has to actually touch and reach the skin, whereas a physical sunscreen is blocking the UV rays from ever touching the skin.

A physical sunscreen contains physical blocking ingredients such as Zinc or Titanium oxide. Both of these ingredients sit on the surface of the skin creating a protective barrier from UVA and UVB rays. They are white in color and work immediately on application. Another type of Physical block can be clothing.

What are some of the best types of food to eat for healthy skin, and what are the benefits of each?

Eating fried foods, processed foods and sugar can wreak havoc on your skin causing puffiness, redness, blemishes, blotchiness, and in all cases Glycation. The Glycation process is sugar (from food and alcohol) breaking down the collagen fibers in the skin and speeding up the aging process – think premature wrinkles and loss of elasticity. Eating ‘superfoods’ will benefit the internal health as well as the external glow. 

Salmon: rich in Omega-3 fatty acids is none of the most beneficial due to its ability to greatly reduce inflammation and dryness and increase circulation – a key attribute to healthy, youthful-looking skin.

Fermented foods: Think kimchee, sauerkraut or pickled vegetables. These foods contain probiotics which help keep the gut healthy.  A healthy gut helps the digestive system and immune system. Probiotics have been shown to help with skin issues such as eczema, rosacea, acne and aging skin.

Foods rich in antioxidants:  Leafy green blueberries, blackberries, avocado, broccoli, nuts. These all contain high levels of antioxidants which are crucial for overall help and fighting off free radical damage.

Does eating ‘healthy fats’ really have an impact on skin health, why or why not? What are some of the best food sources of these healthy fats?

YES. Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, avocado and almonds can greatly reduce inflammation, reduce dryness and increase circulation – a key attribute to healthy, youthful-looking skin. 

In general, if you had to pick, what are the top ingredients to use for healthy, glowing skin? 

The best thing you can do for your skin is exfoliate. As humans age the rate of skin cell turnover slows down dramatically. Dead cells on the skin’s surface hang around much longer, a fact that tends to accentuate those fine lines and make your complexion look dull and lifeless. By removing these dead skin cells, exfoliation helps make up for the gradual slowing down of the natural skin renewal process, improving the tone and texture of the skin. Removing dead and damaged skin cells on the surface allows the fresh new skin underneath to become visible. This newly exposed layer of skin feels much softer and smoother. Its surface reflects light better, making fine lines and other small imperfections harder to see. Age spots and other areas of unwanted pigmentation are less noticeable because the dead skin cells containing the pigment have been removed. Exfoliation unplugs clogged pores and allows for the release of natural skin oils. Regular exfoliation also helps to maintain open pores, decreases pore size, and minimizes many types of superficial scarring. In addition, removing the top layer of dead and damaged cells allows other health-promoting agents such as moisturizers, antioxidants, and collagen-boosting ingredients to better penetrate the skin and work more effectively.

One of the benefits of Doctor’s Scrub is that it delivers our signature  ‘Goldfaden Glow’. Ruby Crystals are used because they are perfectly round and have no jagged edges, which can cause irritation or broken capillaries. Targeted hydrating emollients Hyaluronic Acid, Jojoba Oil and Apricot Kernel oil are incorporated to hydrate and nourish the skin.

Vitamin C:

Vitamin C has the ability to revitalize aging skin due to its ability to stimulate collagen production in the skin while also helping to block the enzymes that break down collagen.

Red Tea:

One of the most important existing antioxidants is Red Tea or Rooibos which contains some of the most potent natural antioxidants known for protecting your skin from the free radical damage that can cause aging. These include vitamins C, E and beta-carotene. Red tea is known to possess 50 times the antioxidant capacity of green tea due to a high concentration of a special enzyme called superoxide dismutase (SOD for short), a major scavenger of free radicals. The combination of these natural vitamins and enzymes found in red tea aids in promoting new skin health after the removal of dead and damaged cells, giving your skin a smoother, brighter, and healthier appearance. In addition, red tea also contains a number of powerful polyphenols and flavonoids that help heal and rejuvenate the skin.

Aspalathin (found only in red tea) and nothofagin, are two main flavonoids that can help strengthen your capillary walls by decreasing the permeability and fragility of veins and lymph vessels. Flavonoids also have strong anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, the alpha hydroxy acid found in African red tea gently stimulates healthy cell turnover, leaving your skin noticeably softer and smoother. Red tea also contains zinc which helps heal and cleanse impurities while delivering calming and soothing benefits to the skin. Regular and continued use of red tea with its antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties will visibly improve skin clarity, brightness, tone and texture. Red tea helps reduce the appearance of many types of skin imperfections, including fine lines, acne scars, and dark spots, resulting in younger, healthier-looking skin.

Hyaluronic Acid:

The volumizing effect it has on the skin adds vital fullness that can minimize facial wrinkles, plump up thin skin and maintain proper moisture levels by preventing dehydration in the skin. Our favorite obsession is our Needle-less product (say goodbye to fine lines, naturally).

How much water should we be drinking?

Your skin is made up of about 65% water (it’s the largest organ of the body), which means that you need to be hydrating your body all throughout the day. I’m sure you’ve heard this way too much, but drink lots of water! Most people are not consuming enough water every day (8-10 glasses on average), but water is a necessary nutrient for healthy, glowy skin. Make sure that you are not allowing yourself to get dehydrated and drink multiple glasses throughout your day. Fill up a large water bottle or fill up your favorite glass many times, and drink that water! Your complexion will show!

What are some tools that we can be using at home? 

Dry brushing your body is a great way to stimulate your lymphatic system and drain waste to smooth the skin. The mechanical action of dry brushing is wonderful for exfoliating dry winter skin. It also helps detoxify by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph flow/drainage. Dry brushing unclogs pores in the exfoliation process. It also stimulates your nervous system, which can make you feel invigorated afterward. It’s also excellent for exfoliation by sweeping away dry patches of skin, and can even smooth cellulite. Our favorite is Goop dry brush!