The Truth About Tryptophan AKA Turkey Syndrome

We’ve all been there. Thanksgiving dinner has been hours, maybe even days, in the making and the food is the proof of all the love and effort that went into making this meal so special. To show your appreciation for the food and the love the meal signifies, you eat. A lot. And then, without fail you’re dozing on the couch or feeling like you desperately need a nap after dinner. You probably have been told why this happens hundreds of times: the tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy. But is that really true? We did a bit of digging to discover whether the turkey is responsible for you passing out during a football game or if there is a bit more to the story.

Tryptophan formula.

What is Tryptophan?
Experts say that L-tryptophan is among the most essential amino acids. Since the human body can’t make it, the diet must supply tryptophan. Amino acids have been termed as ‘building blocks of proteins’. Tryptophan certainly is rich in turkey, but it is also found in meat, fish, eggs, other poultry, cheese and yogurt. Tryptophan is used to make niacin, a B-vitamin that helps out with skin care, digestion, and nerves, and serotonin, a brain chemical that plays a huge role in mood and can assist in creating feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Your body uses serotonin to make melatonin, which you may recognize as an essential hormone that controls your sleep and wake cycles. Since turkey contains tryptophan and tryptophan, it ends up creating melatonin, that’s the reason turkey makes you sleepy, right? Not so fast…

The Tryptophan Myth
You’ve probably been told since you were young that it’s the turkey that makes you sleepy on Thanksgiving. In reality, turkey contains no more than tryptophan than any other meat or poultry. If it was the tryptophan that was really responsible for you feeling so sleepy and sluggish after your Thanksgiving meal, why don’t you feel that way after having some grilled chicken or a burger at a barbecue?

Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, LDN and an American Diabetic Association spokeswoman explains where your feelings of grogginess really come from. “It boils down to Thanksgiving being a time when people overeat. When people overeat, the digestion process takes a lot of energy. Don’t incriminate the turkey that you ate, incriminate the three plates of food that you piled high.”

Other factors that can result in a post-meal food coma include the fact that on a holiday people tend to already be a bit more relaxed and there is often alcohol served before, with or after dinner (or all three!). Additionally, Thanksgiving meals often feature very starchy carbohydrates and immense amounts of sugar, both of which cause a spike in blood sugar. After the spike, however, comes the fall and the result is that you feel tired and wiped out.

There are ways to help avoid the post-meal exhaustion. First, drink alcohol in moderation, it’s better for your health anyway when you don’t overindulge. Next, go easy on the carbs. Pick the mashed potatoes or the white bread, or just have small amounts of both if you can’t resist. Lastly, control your sugar intake. Too much sugar at any one time is going to result in a serious crash effect. Heed our advice and you’ll be awake and alert after your meal so you can really enjoy the time with your family and friends.

Jasmine for Skin Care

Essential oils have been used for centuries to treat a variety of concerns that range from mood to physical ailments. One of the uses for essential oil is skin care. When you use essential oils for skin care you not only receive the topical benefits, you get the aromatherapy benefits as well. Jasmine essential oil is an incredible skin care ingredient and we’ve got what you need to know covered.


Jasmine, also known as “Queen of the Night,” is a luxurious essential oil that can be used for a variety of health purposes, including several skin benefits. The jasmine plant is tropical and subtropical and is native to Asia, Africa and Australia. The flowers of the jasmine plant are most often white or pale yellow in color and they give off the very strong, sweet scent of jasmine. The scent of jasmine alleviates depression, lifts your mood and reduces your stress and anxiety levels.

Hydrates Skin
Jasmine essential oil has been used for centuries to help restore and repair skin. The oil extracted from the delicate, white petals of the jasmine flower increase and improve your skin’s elasticity while also balancing the moisture levels in your skin to reduce dryness. Additionally, jasmine has natural antibacterial properties that help to protect your skin from damage and to enhance the immunity of your skin. Jasmine is particularly beneficial to your skin as the seasons change and the weather and elements damage your skin.

Clarifies Skin
Benzoic acid, benzaldehyde and benzyl benzoate, among other ingredients, have incredibly potent antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties, making jasmine an excellent ingredient to clarify and tone your skin. It is these properties that help to boost your skin’s immunity and protect it from damage. In addition to helping your skin protect itself against environmental damage, jasmine also has soothing, anti-inflammatory properties. The antibacterial properties of jasmine make it an effective ingredient in facial cleansers or masks to purify and clarify your skin.

Heals Skin
Jasmine oil is a cicatrizer which essentially means that can help heal and reduce the appearance of scars. Scars from blemishes, stretch marks or skin wounds can be eliminated with regular applications or jasmine oil. It calms redness and inflammation and is soothing to the skin upon contact.

How to Use Jasmine for Skin Care
Jasmine essential oil is an ingredient that you can add to a large variety of your current skin care products or on its own. While jasmine essential oil is generally considered safe for topical application, it is important to perform a small patch test on your skin to gauge your skin’s reaction. Jasmine essential oil can also be used with a carrier oil; jojoba, sweet almond and coconut oils are some of our very favorite oils for skin care. You can ease stress and rid yourself of muscle tension and pain by adding a few drops of jasmine oil to your lotion and massaging it into your skin. The scent will also improve your mood, reduce your stress and banish depression. A great, easy way to use jasmine for soothing skin care is to purchase green tea with jasmine and steep. Allow the tea to cool and use as a toner over your face for a quick shot of antioxidant power.

Jasmine is an excellent skin care ingredient that aids both your skin and your mind. Mix a few drops of jasmine essential oil into your favorite lotion for skin protection and a lift in your mood. Use the essential oil for a concentrated treatment on stretch marks and scars or add to a cleanser for added antibacterial and antiseptic power. Your skin and mood are just a few drops away from instant improvement when you use jasmine for skin care.

Ingredient Spotlight: Palmitoyl Tripeptide – 1

The fight against anti-aging is endless and the ingredients used are constantly evolving. One of the most buzzed-about ingredients of late has been peptides. These molecules are found naturally in the body, but can also be produced synthetically. Vine Vera investigated just what peptides really are and why palmitoyl tripeptide – 1  is such a powerful anti-aging ingredient.

Skin care serum

What are Peptides?
Peptides have the same chemical structure as proteins, but the chains of amino acids that comprise peptides are shorter in length than other proteins. These chains of amino acids can be either found naturally or manufactured synthetically. According to skin-care experts, most peptides used in cosmetics are synthetic in nature because engineering gives chemists greater control over stability and effectiveness when it comes to skin care.

Why Your Skin Needs Peptides
During the aging process, your body slows the production of collagen which results in saggy skin, fine lines and wrinkles and damaged or weakened skin. Peptides are a cell-communicating ingredient that send the signal to your skin that damage has occurred. When your skin receives this message, collagen production is stimulated so that there will be collagen to heal your skin. This is a naturally occurring process, but as stated above, synthetic peptides are able to send these signals to your skin as well. When you apply a skin-care product featuring a peptide, your skin believes it has suffered a loss of collagen and must make more to heal itself. Peptides also act as a moisture-binding skin-care ingredient, which is part of why topically applied peptides help your skin appear more supple.

Palmitoyl Tripeptide – 1
The various forms of peptides act upon the forms of collagen found in your body and your skin. The most abundant form of collagen in your body is collagen I, the collagen primarily responsible for repairing your skin. Collagen III is found alongside collagen I and works much in the same way, though it is not as tough as collagen I. Palmitoyl tripeptide – 1 mimics the relationship between the growth factors involved in the skin’s healing process and the production of collagen. Essentially, palmitoyl tripeptide tricks your skin into producing more collagen to repair your skin, improve elasticity and minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Palmitoyl tripeptide – 1 is an incredible skin-care ingredient to combat aging, but like most skin-care ingredients it works more effectively when used in combination with other anti-aging ingredients. Research on exactly how peptides work and how to maximize their potency is still being conducted, but the potential power of peptides is promising. When used as part of a good skin-care routine, palmitoyl tripeptide – 1 can help your skin repair damage by stimulating collagen production. The results is younger, smoother and stronger skin.

5 Essential Oils for Anti-Aging

Anti-aging products are everywhere, but if you want to look for a more natural source of skin care, essential oils are an excellent way to improve your skin. Essential oils have been used for centuries for a number of skincare and cosmetic purposes. Below, we’ve listed our top five essential oils for keeping the skin healthy and fighting the visible signs of aging.

Pomegranate seed oil

Pomegranate Seed Oil
Pomegranates are naturally high in antioxidants and pomegranate seed oil contains high concentrations of antioxidants. Your skin needs antioxidants because they fight and reverse damage caused by free radicals. The punicic and ellagic acids that are found in pomegranate essential oil are great anti-aging ingredients because they provide nourishment to the skin while also promoting healthy cell regeneration.

Rosehip Seed Oil
Like sweet almond oil, rosehip seed oil can also be used a carrier, but it can also be used on its own or in a blend of other oils as an anti-aging ingredient. Rosehip seed oil contains the highest concentration of vitamin A of any pure botanical oil. Vitamin A is a skincare superstar where anti-aging is concerned because it can significantly reduce the depth of wrinkles and diminish fine lines. Your skin also benefits from vitamin A because it increases the growth rate of new skin cells to reveal younger looking skin and also boosts collagen production. If you are concerned about age spots, vitamin A can also help to reduce the appearance of age spots. The reason that rosehip seed oil is so wonderful for aging skin is that it is full of essential fatty acids like omega-3, omega-6 and linoleic acid all of which improve the elasticity and texture of your skin. Rosehip seed oil is also a light oil, which means that you can use it without worrying about the heavy feeling some oils can leave on your skin.

Sweet almond oil.

Sweet Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is an extremely versatile oil that happens to be excellent for skin, particularly aging skin. Most, though not all, essential oils require a carrier oil before being applied directly to the skin and sweet almond oil is an incredible carrier oil. One of the first things to note about sweet almond oil is that it is not super oily and it absorbs into the skin relatively quickly. Also, sweet almond oil has virtually no scent, so you don’t have to worry about a lingering smell. Large amounts of vitamins E and K are present in sweet almond oil which benefits your skin by promoting regeneration, maintaining elasticity and encouraging better circulation.

Cypress Oil
As your skin ages, your skin begins to show signs of wear and tear in the form of broken capillaries and varicose veins. Cypress oil help to reduce the appearance of both capillaries and varicose veins. It also adds strength to your skin and improves your circulation.

Lemon oil.

Lemon Oil
Acne knows no age and the fact that you are facing aging concerns doesn’t automatically mean that acne is completely behind you. Lemon oil has natural antiseptic properties, so it helps in the fight against acne. This isn’t the only thing lemon does for your skin. One common concern with aging skin is the appearance of age spots and hyperpigmentation. Lemon oil can help to lighten the appearance of age spots and it also helps soften fine lines and wrinkles.

One of the most amazing things about using essential oils for their anti-aging benefits is that you can custom-blend your own skincare in order to be sure that it is targeting your exact needs. In addition to the skincare benefits, using essential oils blends also offers other benefits in the form of aromatherapy. For truly customized that provides an entire sensory experience, look to essential oils for impressive anti-aging benefits.

What are Carotenoids?

The food you eat does so much more than taste good. One of the most amazing ingredients you can add to your diet are carotenoids. These antioxidant promote eye and skin health as well as providing protection from certain cancers. Our comprehensive guide tells you just what carotenoids are, what they do for you and how you can add some to your diet.

Carrots on a wooden table

What are Carotenoids?
Carotenoids are plant pigments that your body converts into vitamin A. These plant pigments are responsible for the bright red, orange or yellow hue found in fruits and vegetables and are a class of plant pigments known as phytonutrients. Brightly colored red, orange and yellow are not the only fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids. In fact, kale is one of the greatest sources of dietary vitamin A but the chlorophyll in the plant masks the signature red, orange or yellow color of the vegetable. Generally speaking for both bright vegetables and dark, leafy greens, the deeper in color the fruit or vegetable is, the higher the concentration of carotenoids is.

Carotenoids include:

  • Alpha-carotene
  • Beta-carotene
  • Gamma-carotene
  • Cyptoxanthin
  • Beta-zeacarotene
  • Lycopene
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Lutein
  • Capsanthin
  • Canthaxanith

Of these carotenoids, the highest concentration of vitamin A is beta-carotene but the others are just as important. Even those carotenoids that are not converted into vitamin A in the body like lycopene, lutein and capsanthin, are beneficial to your health in that they have incredible cancer-fighting powers. There is ample research to suggest that lycopene, while not a source of vitamin A, helps to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

What do Carotenoids do?
While some carotenoids are effective at fighting cancer, they are also a valuable preventive tool. Research regarding beta-carotene, the carotenoid with the greatest amount of vitamin A, shows that those who eat foods rich in beta-carotene have a lower risk of developing lung cancer, even among smokers. The study also indicated that the maximum benefits were seen when beta-carotene was provided in the form of plants and vegetables as opposed to taking a vitamin A supplement. In fact three research studies that involved 169,000 participants, of whom many were smokers, the beta-carotene supplement actually increased rates of lung cancer. However, lutein, lycopene and alpha-carotene showed significant protection against lung cancer.

Experts believe that the variation in carotenoid protection is dependent upon when you take carotenoids. For instance, if you take beta-carotene prior to cells undergoing any pre-cancerous changes, beta-carotene reduces the likelihood that mutations will take place due to the antioxidant actions this carotenoid provides. Conversely, taking a beta-carotene supplement after the mutation of cells suggests that beta-carotene may protect the mutated cells from being destroyed by your body.

In addition to fighting cancer, carotenoids that are converted into vitamin A provide your body with important health benefits. One of the most important uses for vitamin A is eye health. The old maxim that carrots are good for your eyes really is rooted in fact. Vitamin A is essential for eye health and preventing vision loss. Your heart also received health benefits from carotenoids, particularly when combined with vitamins E and C. The carotenoid beta-carotene has also been shown to protect the skin against environmental damage and toxins due to its antioxidant properties.

How do you get Carotenoids?
Now that you know why it is so important to get carotenoids into your body, you probably want to know how you can do that. Some of the very best dietary sources of carotenoids include:

  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Spinach
  • Beef liver
  • Cantaloupe
  • Tomatoes
  • Eggs

Eating a diet rich in carotenoids is an excellent thing to do for your overall health and you can easily incorporate these foods into your diet. While experts recommend dietary carotenoid as the most beneficial for your body, there are certainly dietary supplements available if you are concerned you aren’t receiving enough from your food. Stock up on these fruits and veggies to keep your eyes, heart and cells healthy in addition to getting the healthiest skin of your life.

What is Vitamin A

Vitamin A Infographic

Vitamin A is an essential vitamin for your body to function properly and healthily. The benefits of vitamin A range from younger looking skin to better vision. Check out the comprehensive information on vitamin A that you need to know.

What is Vitamin A?
Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that are responsible for the maintenance or regulation of various parts/and or functions of the human body. This fat-soluble vitamin is stored in your liver and there are two types of dietary vitamin A: preformed vitamin A and pro-vitamin A. Preformed vitamin A is available in seafood, meat, poultry and dairy food while pro-vitamin A is found in plant-based foods. The most common type of pro-vitamin A found in fruits and vegetables is beta-carotene. You may also get vitamin A from dietary supplements such as beta-carotene or retinyl palmitate.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states “[v]itamin A helps form and maintain teeth, healthy skin, mucous membranes and skeletal and soft tissues. It is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina of the eye.”

Forms of Vitamin A
There are many forms of vitamin A and its derivatives, but the major forms of vitamin A are:

  • Retinol – The entire vitamin A molecule
  • Retinal – Form of vitamin A largely involved in eye health
  • Retinoic Acid – Vitamin A molecule broken down
  • Dehydroretinol – Vitamin A2
  • Carotenes – These include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and gamma-carotene

Skin Benefits of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is capable of a great many things and some of these relate to helping you achieve healthy, beautiful skin. There are several ways in which your skin benefits from vitamin A:

  • Supports Skin Health and Cellular Growth – Vitamin A is essential for your skin to heal itself and it increases the rate of wound healing. Additionally, vitamin A helps you to re-grow healthy skin cells and promotes a healthy cellular membrane. You are probably aware that vitamin A is frequently used for anti-aging purposes. Collagen is one of the greatest skin ingredients to reduce the visible signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, and vitamin A increases your collagen production.
  • Anti-Inflammatory – Vitamin A is full of antioxidants that fight free radical damage and works to decrease any inflammation in your skin. Vitamin A also normalizes your blood flow to help reduce signs of rosacea.
  • Helps Prevent Cancer – There is evidence suggesting that vitamin A helps prevent several types of cancer including oral, lung, skin and breast cancers. A part of why vitamin A may be helpful in preventing skin cancer is that it helps your body eradicate any pre-cancerous skin lesions.

Foods Rich in Vitamin A
Your diet is one of the best sources of vitamin A. Orange and yellow vegetables have high amounts of vitamin A as do dark, leafy greens. You can also receive vitamin A from meat, fish, poultry and dairy sources. Some of the absolute best dietary sources of vitamin A are:

  • Carrots – 21384 IU/one cup serving
  • Sweet Potatoes – 18443 IU/one whole sweet potato
  • Beef Liver – 14363 IU/four ounce serving
  • Kale – 6693 IU/one cup serving
  • Spinach 2813/one cup serving

When it comes to healthy bodily maintenance and functioning, vitamin A is a superstar. Diet is an important aspect of meeting your daily recommended value of vitamin A, but there are also dietary supplements available. For the best skin benefits, there are tons of topical products ranging from cleansers to prescription treatments that help your skin look its absolute best. Next time you’re at your local market, be sure to stock up on some (or all) of the above foods to reap the benefits that vitamin A bestows on your body.

Why Your Skin Craves Vitamin A

Woman applying eye serum.

Vitamin A is an important ingredient if your want to have your skin looking healthy, radiant and clear. You may already be using products that contain vitamin A and you might not know it. Vitamin A is more commonly referred to as retinol when it comes to skin care. Below, check out what forms of vitamin A are available and why your skin craves this skin care ingredient.

Forms of Vitamin A
When it comes to vitamin A, there are three major derivatives and the terms are often used interchangeably. Although many use the terms to refer to vitamin A, there are subtle, but important differences.

Retinol – Retinol is the most widely recognized form of vitamin A and is readily available in cosmetic products. Retinol is the entire vitamin A molecule and as such, it can be broken down into a variety of potent compounds. Skin care experts explain, “[r]etinol is a cosmetic ingredient that any cosmetic company can include in its products. It does not require a prescription. Retinol is effective because when it gets absorbed in the skin, it gets broken down into retinoic acid. Retinoic acid is the compound which can affect your skin cells and their behavior.” Retinol is an excellent ingredient for helping your skin reduce signs of aging.

Retinoids – Retinoids are a class of chemical compounds that are derivatives of vitamin A or are closely related in chemical structure. Retinoids are primarily used in the treatment of acne and aging, but there are other skin conditions that benefit from the use of retinoids. Inflammatory skin disorders, psoriasis and photoaging are conditions that can benefit from the use of retinoids.

Tretinoin – Tretinoin is retinoic acid that is available in prescription form. The most frequent use for topical tretinoin prescriptions is acne control. This retinoic acid manages acne by promoting the peeling of skin to reveal newer, healthier skin. Additionally, tretinoin deep cleans and unclogs pores while also reducing sebum (oil) production. While tretinoin is usually used as an acne treatment, it is also the first retinoid approved by the FDA to treat wrinkles.

“All forms of retinol have similar, although not identical, functions and provide truly impressive results for skin, which explains their popularity in the world of skin care,” note experts.

How to Give Your Skin the Vitamin A it Craves
The first place to begin with making sure your skin is getting plenty of vitamin A is to include foods that are rich in vitamin A in your diet. Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, romaine lettuce, dark, leafy greens such as kale and sweet red peppers are all foods that provide high amounts of vitamin A. Seafood like salmon, sturgeon, mackerel and oysters are also a great addition to your diet if you are looking to increase your vitamin A intake.

Next, using topical vitamin A products helps keep your skin looking and feeling happy. Many forms of vitamin A, retinol and its derivatives (retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, retinaldehyde to name a few) are widely available in cosmetic products including face cleansers, toners, moisturizing creams, face masks and serums. For more serious skin problems, like severe acne, tretinoin and other retinoids are available in prescription form.

No single ingredient can magically cure all of your skin concerns, but vitamin A does provide many significant benefits. Vitamin A, in any form, gently exfoliates your skin, repairs the cellular structure of the epidermis and promotes healthy cellular membranes. It is important to note the while the benefits of vitamin A are undeniable, you should proceed with caution when beginning to use topical forms of vitamin A. Most people experience increased redness, flaking and irritated skin when first beginning a topical vitamin A regimen. Allow your skin to become used to the ingredient by using every other day at first and be sure that other products you’re putting on your face (cleanser, toners, etc…) are gentle on your skin to avoid increased irritation. Vitamin A is an important ingredient in a healthy skin care routine and is a widely available ingredient.

Skin Care Ingredients that Make Skin Happy

There are constant breakthroughs and improvements when it comes to skin care and it seems there’s always a hot new miracle ingredient. Some of these skin care ingredients are more of a fad than anything, but others are truly incredible ingredients. The three ingredients below have all been in the skin care spotlight for some time, and with good reasons. These skin care ingredients are staples for healthy, happy skin.

Hyaluronic acid chemical formula.

Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and it is responsible for the regulation of cell renewal and maintaining the moisture and elasticity of your skin. Skin care products that contain hyaluronic acid are beneficial to all skin types, but they may have the most profound effects on dry skin. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant and when applied topically, it not only adds moisture to the skin, but it creates a moisture barrier on the skin that keeps the moisture from leaving the skin. Because hyaluronic acid is able to hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water, it is incredible for keeping skin hydrated. Recently, hyaluronic acid has been making news as the hot new injectable. When used as an injectable, hyaluronic acid smooths out wrinkles. While hyaluronic acid applied topically does help to “plump” and soften the appearance of wrinkles, the molecule is too large to fully penetrate into your skin and eliminate fine lines and wrinkles.

Peptides are a cell-communicating skincare ingredients. These segments of active proteins alert your skin to act in particular ways, one of which is to signal the skin to increase production of elastin. Elastin keeps your skin plump and gives it its ability to bounce back. Additionally, peptides are beneficial in helping skin heal itself after an injury or wound. Peptides are an important anti-aging ingredient that can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles because one of the things they can communicate to cells is the signal to relax facial muscles. They also are helpful in stimulating collagen production, helping to fight fine lines and wrinkles.

Vitamin A chemical formula.

Retinol is an active form of the vitamin A molecule and it is one of the greatest skin care ingredients that you can use. This vitamin A derivative is a powerful exfoliant that encourages your skin to shed layers to turn over younger, healthier skin cells. The use of retinols as a skin care ingredient can improve skin firmness, reverse visible signs of sun and environmental damage, reduce hyperpigmentation and dark circles, treat acne and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to those amazing benefits, retinols also increase natural production of hyaluronic acid and collagen, which keeps skin smooth and supple. When buying products containing retinol, it’s important to pay attention to the packaging. Light and air can degrade retinols, so look for opaque packaging with a pump to preserve its integrity.

These skincare ingredients are beneficial to all skin types and they are most effective when used as part of a healthy skincare routine. Be sure to cleanse your face, tone (if necessary) and hydrate frequently. Drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet will also significantly improve your skin, making these skincare ingredients even more effective. Look for products that contain these ingredients to keep your skin radiant, glowing and happy.

Foods That Relieve Stress

The American Psychological Association reported that in 2010, 40% of Americans reported either overeating or eating unhealthy foods in direct response to stress. When you’re super stressed your cortisol levels rise and it is true that cramming your face full of cookies or chomping down on french fries can make you feel better initially because cortisol causes food cravings. Although your favorite ice cream may soothe you immediately, ultimately this will result in more negative feelings like irritability or mood swings on top of the stress you were trying to get rid of to begin with. But, when your cortisol levels tell you need something this second, there are foods that you can eat that can actually help you to relieve stress, feel calm and help you to feel focused and balanced so you can tackle stressful situations head-on.


Technically a fruit, avocados are often considered a source of fat, so it’s best to eat this stress-busting food in moderation. One of the potential problems when overindulging in unhealthy fats and sugars is more oxidative damage, and a substance, glutathione, in avocados specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of these fats. In addition to glutathione, avocados contain beta-carotene, lutein, folate and vitamins B and E. A serving of avocado is roughly ⅓ of the fruit and you can eat this is so many ways. Mash some with fresh chopped cilantro, onions and tomatoes and a squeeze of lime juice for a healthy, stripped-down guacamole or simply slice some thinly and add to your favorite sandwich.


Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries…take your pick. Berries are an excellent source of vitamin C and a German study indicated that vitamin C is helpful in the fight against stress. In the study, researchers asked 120 participants to give a speech and then complete difficult mathematical problems. The participants who have been given vitamin C had lower blood pressure and cortisol levels (two indicators of stress) following these exercises than participants who had not been given vitamin C. Berries are delicious on their own, in healthy smoothies or on top of your favorite Greek yogurt.

Dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate
You may have reached for chocolate before when you were feeling particularly stressed and ended up regretting doing so. This is most likely due to the variety of chocolate you decided to eat. Milk chocolate is loaded with extra sugar and it’s easy to polish off an entire bag of milk chocolate candies pretty quickly. The resulting sugar crash probably only made you feel worse. Good news, you can continue to eat chocolate during times of stress if you choose dark chocolate and enjoy it in moderation. Dark chocolate lowers your blood pressure, which leads to feelings of calm. Additionally, dark chocolate contains two important types of antioxidants, flavonoids and polyphenols, that are helpful to your overall health. Keep a few squares of dark chocolate in your purse or in a drawer at work and enjoy when you’re feeling particularly stressed. Remember that moderation is important, though it is easier to curb the amount of dark chocolate you eat because it is so rich tasting. Stick with dark chocolate that is 70% or more cacao to get the full stress relieving benefits of this sweet treat.

Reaching for food during periods of stress is a completely normal response in both men and women, but it often is done in an unhealthy manner. Training yourself to choose the right foods when you feel frazzled can help to reduce levels of stress, increase feelings of calm, help you feel energized and keep you focused so that you can meet your challenges head on.

Foods to Improve Your Health

You are what you eat. Seriously. The foods that you put into your body are responsible for keeping you healthy and happy. There are so many “superfoods” or diets that promise nothing short of miraculous results or health benefits and it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. That’s why we created this super short list of just three foods that you can add to your diet today to improve your health.


For the past few years, this superfood has been receiving tons of attention. Although it is commonly referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually the seed from a vegetable that is related to Swiss chard and spinach. Quinoa is an incredibly versatile food that can be used in everything from your favorite salad to a delicious pudding dessert. Riboflavin, which improves the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells, is found in abundance in quinoa. Consuming foods high in riboflavin can help those who suffer from migraines have fewer attacks. Additionally, quinoa is a high-protein, low-calorie complex carbohydrate that is very helpful for weight management.

Kale chips

Dark, leafy greens are always a good addition to your diet, but even spinach can’t quite compete with the nutritional benefits that kale provides. Kale is packed with nutrients and extremely low in calories and provides health benefits from heart disease prevention to healthy skin and hair. The fiber, potassium and vitamins C and B6 contained in kale all work to promote healthy heart functioning. When it comes to changing diet for improved heart health, the most important change you can make is to decrease your sodium intake while increasing your potassium intake. Vitamin K is essential for healthy bones and just a one-cup serving of kale provides nearly 700% of your daily vitamin K needs. Iron and vitamins A and C all benefit your hair and skin. Iron deficiencies are commonly a cause for hair loss while vitamin A is necessary for moisturization levels as well as the growth of bodily tissues, including your skin and hair. Vitamin C supports healthy collagen building and maintenance, which keeps your skin looking young and radiant.


When it comes to health foods, nuts are certainly not new on the scene. In moderation, nuts are an excellent addition to your diet, and one nut in particular may be especially beneficial. Walnuts contain protein and a healthy dose of antioxidants. Dr. Joe Vinson, a researcher at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, notes that “[t]wenty-eight grams of walnuts (an ounce) have more antioxidants than the sum of what the average person gets from fruits and vegetables. That is not to say they are a replacement for fruits and vegetables, but they are very antioxidant dense.” Although nuts are not a low-calorie food, they are filling meaning an ounce of nuts as a snack can make you less likely to overindulge at your next meal. What really sets walnuts apart from other nuts is their high content of serotonin. Serotonin is the “feel-good” chemical in your brain that is responsible for creating feelings of calm and happiness and walnuts are one of the richest dietary sources of serotonin available.

The importance of eating well cannot be stressed enough. Following a diet that is full of essential vitamins, nutrients and minerals helps ensure that your body is receiving everything that it needs to keep you both healthy and happy. You don’t have to change your entire diet overnight, gradually adding foods that improve your health will still have a significant positive impact on all areas of your health from increasing happiness to giving you glowing skin.