Top 10 Foods to Fight Stress

When you’re stressed out, the foods that you most likely turn to are typically your traditional ‘comfort’ foods – think big meals, take-out, fatty foods, sweet foods, and alcohol. Let’s face it – we’ve all found some comfort in a tasty meal and a bottle of beer or glass of wine when we’ve been stressed out or upset about something. However, this isn’t a good permanent solution.

When you’re turning to unhealthy foods you can feel better temporarily, but in the long run, you will feel worse. When your body isn’t getting the right nutrition, you can begin to feel less energetic, more lethargic, and in some cases less able to concentrate and focus. All of this can lead to even more stress.

Foods that Fight Stress

If you’ve been feeling more stressed out than usual lately, it’s important to know which foods are best to choose and which to avoid when it comes to combating stress and helping you to deal with feelings of stress and anxiety. The best way to fight stress is to have a healthy, balanced diet which includes a moderate amount of each of the different food groups.

Filling up on foods such as gluten free whole grains, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins as the basic staples of the diet is the best way to ensure that your body gets the optimum amounts of nutrients to fight both physical and mental health problems. When it comes to choosing the foods to eat, some have a range of great properties which help the body to combat stress. Choosing these stress-busting foods will help to add wellness and calm your mind permanently, rather than providing a temporary fix, and worsening your over-all wellbeing long term.

Here are my favorite top 10 foods to fight stress:

  1. Avocado – Avocados are a creamy and versatile fruit which can be eaten in a range of different ways whether you enjoy it raw, made into sauces, dressings and dips, or in a smoothie. These nutrient-dense fruits have the properties to stress-proof your body, thanks to their high glutathione content which specifically blocks the intestinal absorption of certain fats which cause oxidative damage. Avocados also contain higher levels of vitamin E, folate, and beta-carotene than any other fruit, which boosts their stress-busting properties. However, be careful with portion control when eating avocado, as it is high in fat.
  2. Blueberries – If you’re feeling stressed out and reaching for the snacks, swapping chocolate or chips for one of the best superfoods is a great way to help you deal with your stress levels and achieve a higher level of calm. Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants, especially antho-cyanin, which means that this berry has been linked to a wide range of health benefits including sharper cognition, better focus, and a clearer mind – all of which can help you to better deal with stress.
  3. Chamomile Tea – Of course, it’s not all about what you’re eating when it comes to managing stress; what you’re drinking can also alleviate or worsen the stress you’re feeling. Drinking liquids which are high in sugars and caffeine, such as coffee, energy drinks or soda, can actually increase your stress levels if consumed regularly. Chamomile tea has long been used as a natural bedtime soother, and it has also been used in clinical trials, which determined that chamomile tea is effective in reducing the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
  4. Organic Dark Chocolate – Although it’s usually seen as an unhealthy treat, there is an undeniable link between chocolate and our mood. Studies have shown that eating chocolate can actually make you happier. However, that doesn’t mean that you can start munching on conventional chocolate bars (which contain very little chocolate and a ton of added sugar) every time you’re stressed out – chocolate works best as a de-stressor when eaten in moderation and as part of a healthy and balanced diet. Dark chocolate ,over 70% Cocoa in particular, is best for you, as it contains more flavonols and polyphenols, two hugely important antioxidants which can help combat stress, more than many fruit juices.
  5. Oatmeal – Oatmeal is great in that it can be a filling comfort food, but also has a large number of healthy properties to actually make you feel better from the inside out. A complex carbohydrate, eating oatmeal causes your brain to produce higher levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin, helping you to feel calmer and less stressed. Studies have shown that kids who choose oatmeal for breakfast tend to be much sharper throughout the morning in school compared to kids who had alternative morning meals.
  6. Walnuts – If you’re looking for a healthy snacking option which will help you to stay better in control of your stress levels, walnuts are a great choice. There is no denying the sweet, pleasant flavor of walnuts and they can be a tasty snack for in-between meals or as part of a desert. A versatile nut, walnuts are great for salads, or add them to a sweet treat such as coffee and walnut cake.
  7. Pistachios – another food which is great for snacking on and can also help to combat stress and anxiety in the long term is pistachios. Studies have found that simply eating two small, snack-size portions of pistachios per day can lower vascular constriction when you are stressed, putting less pressure on your heart by further dilating your arteries. Along with this, the rhythmic, repetitive act of shelling pistachios can actually be quite therapeutic!
  8. Green Leafy Vegetables – leafy, green vegetables should be a pivotal part of anyone’s diet. Along with helping to combat stress, leafy greens are full of nutrients and antioxidants which help to fight off disease and leave your body feeling healthier and more energized. Dark leafy greens, for example spinach, are especially good for you since they are rich in folate, which helps your body to produce more mood-regulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is a ‘feel-good’ chemical. Making leafy greens a part of your diet will help you to feel happier and less stressed out overall.
  9. Fermented foods – Eating fermented foods, such as kimchi, can help to keep your gut healthy, which actually in turn will help to improve your mental health and reduce stress levels. The beneficial bacteria which are found in fermented foods actually have a direct effect on your brain chemistry and transmit positive mood and behavior regulating signals to your brain via the vagus nerve.
  10. Adaptogenic Herbs and/or Green Drinks – Not everyone has the discipline or the time to create 3 healthy meals and a selection of stress busting snacks every day. I may be the only one, but I believe strongly that in these cases, supplementation can be invaluable. Adaptogens are used in alternative medicine to counteract physical and emotional stress on the body. One of the most popular is Turmeric, which has been touted for its anti-inflammatory properties. Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb said to reduce anxiety, help battle depression, and possibly boost brain function. Saffron, another famous antioxidant, is known to improve mood, enhance libido and reduce PMS symptoms. Green drinks can make up for a diet starved for dark leafy greens and a myriad of fruits and vegetables. Look for one that contains a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and a variety of dark leafy greens. If you can find one with Spirulina, a superfood antioxidant with many health benefits, you will thank yourself later.

Here are 2 of my favorite supplements that I personally use daily:

Greens Balance Fruit and Vegetable Concentrate

InnerCalm Adaptogenic De-Stress Powder

=====

DISCLAIMER: 

Review Disclaimer: I will receive a commission if you click on a link to purchase, as no extra cost to you. This enables me to continue to provide quality content for my readers. I will never recommend a product or company that I do not regularly use myself. I only share products that I am authentically passionate about, and that align with my beliefs and ethics.

This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.

=====

This website is owned and operated by Maria Spillane, an Arbonne Independent Consultant, and is not endorsed by Arbonne. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by and are the responsibility of the Independent Consultant and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of Arbonne.

The perfect late summer lip

“The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.”

— George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones

First, know that this post will contain affiliate links, and as I am required to tell you that I am biased… there ya go. But rest easy knowing that every time you click and purchase from a bloggers page, you make it possible for them to make a living bringing you the content you are looking for. Love and thanks XOXO

It’s that magical time of summer in Easton, PA when the breeze is just cool enough to keep you from sweating your makeup off the second you step outside. Your tan is perfect. You barely need bronzer, but you put it on anyway. Colorful EVERYTHING is still in style and flowers are printed EVERYWHERE. It is a Monday night in late summer and the kids are away, so of course you are headed out and about in the artisanal and somewhat hipster city of Easton to check out the sights and see what new weird has bloomed downtown in the last 24 hours. But what to wear to compliment this Japanese inspired red tank from Old Navy? Why, Jasmine of course.

Enter one of my favorite treats, the Double Take Matte & Shine Duo in Jasmine by Arbonne. I am slightly obsessed with this shade for this time of year. It is pink perfection minus the cliché. Everything I am wearing in this late summer look is listed below. Enjoy!!

Please remember, if you have an Arbonne consultant please send them this post so that they can give you their own affiliate links. We are a family first, always. If not, click the links to purchase or DM me for info on discounts.

Double Take Matte & Shine Duo in Jasmine

Makeup Primer

The Real Conceal in Light

Perfecting Liquid Foundation in Neutral Beige

Starlight Glow Palette (Bronzer, Glow, Blush, Highlight)

Speak Volumes Mascara

It’s All in the Eyes Palette Volume 1 (Fog/Caraway/Desert)

It’s a Fine Line Liquid Eye Liner in Arbor

Shape it Up Brow Pencil in Light

Poison isn’t Pretty: Top 20 Ingredients to avoid putting on or in your body.

isn’t pretty.
  1. Hydroquinone 
    Hydroquinone is a skin lightener that causes skin irritation and may be linked to certain cancers. It is used in many “anti-aging” products out there.
  2. Parabens 
    Parabens have been linked to endocrine disruption, which may increase the risk of certain cancers. Here are some you might see on a label: ethylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. Most skincare products contain multiple parabens, so turn your bottles around and check!
  3. Petrolatum or Mineral Oil
    Petrolatum is a common skincare filler and “skin protectant” that is a by-product of the distillation of gasoline (petroleum). It almost always contains the impurity polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which have been linked to cancer. It is also an occlusive, which means it clogs pores and disrupts the skin’s natural detoxification processes. This ingredient is usually in the top three ingredients of skincare and cosmetics products.
  4. Phthalates 
    Phthalates are plasticizing ingredients commonly used in fragrances as a solvent and skin fixative. Phthalates have been linked to endocrine disruption and may cause birth defects. Here are some you might see on a label: dibutylphthalate (DBP), dimethylphthalate (DMP), diethylphthalate (DEP)] . Check your kid’s products for this. It is also common in children’s products because of its affect on texture.
  5. Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) 
    Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are harsh surfactants that can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. Moreover, SLES often contains the impurity 1,4-dioxane, a by-product from its manufacturing process, which is a potential carcinogen. You will find this in all of your cleansers, including face wash, hand wash, shampoo, clothing detergents, and dish soap.
  6. Formaldehyde-donating preservatives 
    Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen that is also linked to asthma and developmental toxicity. Companies can be pretty sneaky about labeling so here are some ingredients that will show up on skincare labels that are actually FDPs: quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, and methylisothiazolinone. There are more but these are the most common. This is the most common preservative used to skincare, cosmetics, and personal care products in the United States.
  7. Triclosan 
    Triclosan is an antibacterial agent which causes skin irritation and has been linked to endocrine disruption. It is also bioaccumulative (which means it builds up in your body over time) and potentially toxic to aquatic organisms. Think about the sea turtles, and their friends.
  8. Ethanolamines (MEA/DEA/TEA) 
    Frequently used in cosmetics as emulsifiers, foaming agents or pH adjusters. Based on studies, they are linked to organ system toxicity, cancer, and environmental concerns of bioaccumulation.
  9. Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)/Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) 
    Petroleum-derived antioxidants used to extend shell life of product, BHA and BHT can induce allergic reactions in skin. They are also likely carcinogens and hormone disruptors.
  10. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) and methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCT) 
    Together they are commonly noted as Kathon CG on a label. This chemical preservative is widely used in cosmetics, and are the most common irritants, sensitizers, and cause of contact skin allergies. They are also linked to lung toxicity and possibly neurotoxicity.
  11. Artificial flavors and sweeteners 
    This might be a touchy subject, but I would much rather have a limited amount of the real thing than a chemical shit-storm that could wreak untold havoc on my body. Sugar is not evil. Anything in excess is unhealthy. Real is good. Fake is bad. There are so many, I will have to do a separate blog post on them. Just know that most of them have been linked to multiple health risks, so it’s best to stay away. Pure stevia is ok, as it is an actual plant. But most popular products blend stevia with chemical sweeteners, so watch out.
  12. Synthetic fragrances and dyes 
    Since many synthetic fragrances and dyes are petroleum-derived, they may contain components which are potential hormone disruptors, allergens, and environmental toxins. Remember, real is good. Fake is bad.
  13. Gluten 
    Ingredients such as wheat, rye, and barley contain gluten protein may cause major health issues to those with gluten intolerance, sensitivity or allergy. This is a big deal for me, as I have medical issues with gluten, but everyone can benefit from less gluten in their life. Look out for a separate blog post from me on the forced evolution of wheat, and the resulting consequences on our collective gut.
  14. Peanuts
    Ingredients derived from peanuts can cause potential allergic reactions in many people. In fact, some folks could die from being in the same room as your lunch sandwich. So, unless you have this allergy, this is just about being polite.
  15. Soy 
    Soy and soy derivatives contain a protein which may cause potential allergic reactions in many people. Soy also affects the body’s hormonal levels, and may have links to mood issues in men and breast cancer in women.
  16. High fructose corn syrup 
    High fructose corn syrup is everywhere in sodas and other sweet drinks. Researchers are now questioning whether it is a major contributor to obesity and other health concerns (is there really a question, people?). There are even lip glosses and lipsticks that contain this ingredient! This is the overkill side of sugar. A little goes a long way y’all. And this ingredients does not metabolize in our bodies in the same way as natural sugar.
  17. Canola Oil 
    Canola oil is derived from the rapeseed plant. There is a lot of suspicion around this ingredient, due to its likelihood of being GMO derived and the way our bodies metabolize it. Until further evidence is collected, steer clear of this in your nutrition products and foods.
  18. Trans Fats 
    Trans fats are well researched for their detrimental effects on cholesterol levels — namely, increasing LDL (bad) cholesterol and reducing HDL (good) cholesterol — and increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. If you are unfamiliar with the idea of good versus bad fats, I plan to do a blog entry on this topic soon.
  19. Talc 
    Talc is a common cosmetic ingredient, and is used as an anti-caking/anti-clumping agent. Talc is often contaminated with asbestos fibers which possess risks for respiratory toxicity and cancer. Recently, talc has also been linked to some reproductive cancers.
  20. Animal products or by-products 
    Whether we are vegan or not, none of us wants to be a part of the torture of animals in product testing labs. Nor do we really have an interest in our skincare having fillers produced by rendering plants (which process roadkill and the leftovers from meat processing plants). Finally, on the nutrition side, it is best to steer clear of dairy by products as more than 1/3 of the population is not able to digest cow’s milk. Say no to bloat!

Glow up as you grow up

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.     

— Sophia Loren

When I was a child, there was an old commercial about not wanting to grow up. It was a Toys R Us commercial, “I don’t wanna grow up, I’m a Toys R Us kid”. It really was a brilliant bit of advertising, because it not only stayed with me… It became a part of my personal paradigm.

Years later, I am “grown” and Toys R Us is gone. Now all of us TRU kids are lost and drifting on a tide of detox cleanses, anti-wrinkle creams and botox. It can get pretty overwhelming out there. Especially since most of us are just looking to raise our kids, get out of debt, and keep moving.

I decided to start this blog for all of you who have been asking for this. I get questions, all the time, about simple beauty tips, healthy skincare choices, low maintenance “how to’s” and how nutrition and exercise impact our “glow”. I have been asked for information on how to “keep it all together” and bring the inner beauty out again after childbirth and early child rearing, despite the temptations of quick fixes and guilty pleasures that meet us at every turn.

I do not have it all together. Nor do I have all the answers. I am, however, grateful for your faith in me, and for the many requests I have received over the last few years to put this together.

So here it is: Maria’s Aging Well. A Lifestyle and Beauty Blog on how real women and men of all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life, with all levels of experience (or inexperience) can bring their inner beauty to the surface through self-care and self-growth.

We can all thrive if we treat ourselves well , each other well, and the world well.

Petter Mörk