By Alexandra Rowles
Oregano is a fragrant herb that's best known as an ingredient in Italian food.
However, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil that's loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits.
- Essential Oils: 7 Common Questions Answered - EcoWatch ›
- 9 Ways to Boost Your Immune System - EcoWatch ›
- 15 Impressive Herbs with Antiviral Activity - EcoWatch ›
By Kelli McGrane
Oat milk is popping up at coffee shops and grocery stores alike, quickly becoming one of the trendiest plant-based milks.
- Is Oat Milk Gluten-Free? - EcoWatch ›
- What Nutritionists Think About Starbucks' Three New Plant-Based ... ›
- 6 Alternatives to Milk: Which Is the Healthiest? - EcoWatch ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Greg Watts
Many of us have been spending more time at home than ever before, and chances are unless you live by yourself in the middle of nowhere, at some point unwanted noise will have infiltrated your lockdown.
Creating Quiet<p>Reducing noise at the source is usually the best course of action. Ideally, many of us would like to reduce the number of noisy vehicles passing our homes and gardens but unfortunately, we can't control this. In the case of road traffic, reducing the speed limit would help – as would a smoother road surface or, better still, a surface that absorbs sound such as porous asphalt. These are all jobs for the highway authority – but they may have more pressing claims on their budgets.</p><p>There are, however, things you can do around your house and garden to make things a little more peaceful. A barrier such as a close boarded fence, earth mound or wall close to the road should help – but they will have to be long enough and high enough to have much effect.</p><p>Much depends on where the house is in relation to the road. The aim would be to position any barrier so that the road is not in view from any exposed window or part of the garden.</p>
A high wall or substantial fence can reduce traffic noise if placed close to the road. Author provided
Natural Features<p>Interestingly our <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-tranquil-spaces-can-help-people-feel-calm-and-relaxed-in-cities-82358" target="_blank">perception of tranquillity</a> is shaped not only by the sounds we hear but also what we see.</p><p>A study involving brain scans has shown that we process auditory information differently <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20600971/" target="_blank">depending on the scene in view</a>. The noise of a sandy beach and highway at distance are quite similar, but research has shown that if using the same sound recording while showing a beach scene (as opposed to a highway scene) to volunteers in an MRI scanner, the resulting brain patterns differ significantly. The rated tranquillity also differs significantly.</p><p>In fact, <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273366914_Tranquillity_and_soundscapes_in_urban_green_spaces-predicted_and_actual_assessments_from_a_questionnaire_survey" target="_blank">research on tranquility has shown</a> that the rated tranquillity of a place depends on both the percentage of natural features – such as greenery, rock, sand and water – in view and the level of man-made noise.</p><p>This means there is a trade-off in the sense that if you cannot control the noise, the perceived tranquillity improves if the amount of greenery or water in view increases. This is worth bearing in mind when creating a tranquil garden space.</p>
Finding Tranquillity Indoors<p>Inside the home, some of the same principles apply. Reduce sources of noise by installing double glazing to windows and doors and add a thicker insulation layer in the loft to control aircraft noise.</p><p>If it proves difficult to control noise in the bedroom then think about changing rooms so that you sleep on the non-traffic side of the house. Another thought is to include pictures of nature as wall art – the bigger the better – as <a href="https://core.ac.uk/display/76945458?source=2" target="_blank">research has shown</a> that installing pictures of nature scenes on the walls, as well as playing relaxing sea sounds as background music, can significantly improve people's experiences of tranquillity and anxiety in a doctor's waiting room.</p><p>Many of us have enjoyed listening to the birds more often with the reduced traffic levels of lockdown. It would be nice to think the "new normal" would include some of these gains. Hopefully people will realize that many of the journeys they make by car are not strictly necessary. And it's important not to forget that nature is around us all the time – if only we just take a moment to stop and listen.</p>
By Sara Lindberg
There have never been more choices when it comes to organic, natural, or eco-friendly cleaning products. Knowing which products are certified organic and which ones are just a safer alternative to traditional cleaners is often confusing. And how do you know which ones can really get the job done?
How We Chose<p>To curate our list of top-rated cleaning products, we considered many criteria. Some key elements include:</p><ul><li><strong>The types of ingredients in a product. </strong>We took a careful look at the ingredients used in each product to make sure they were safe, nontoxic, and naturally derived. We avoided products with ingredients that have the potential to negatively impact the health of your family or the environment.</li><li><strong>Top choices from reputable environmental organizations.</strong> Groups like the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publish annual reports on organic and natural cleaning products with rankings from best to worst. We also considered cleaners certified with the Green Seal, which are greener and healthier products.</li><li><strong>A product's cleaning ability.</strong> The best organic cleaning products don't only need to be safer and less toxic to use. They also need to do a great job at cleaning. We considered how effectively different products cut through dirt, grease, soap scum, or grime.</li><li><strong>The opinion of cleaning experts.</strong> We spoke to cleaning experts who regularly use organic and all-natural products. We asked for their input on what ingredients to look for — and avoid — and which products they recommend.</li><li><strong>Awards, user reviews, and customer feedback.</strong> We considered feedback from websites that sell organic products and only considered products that had significantly more raves than complaints.</li></ul>
About Organic Products<p>"There are many cleaning products on the market that claim to be organic, but very few have the USDA certified organic label," says James Scott, co- founder of Dappir, a commercial and residential cleaning company.</p><p>"Usually, you'll see [labels] like natural, all-natural, or plant-based, but these do not necessarily mean organic," he explains.</p><p>While many of these cleaners are excellent options and are a lot safer than chemical-laden cleaning products, if they don't carry the USDA organic label, they can't be considered a certified organic cleaner.</p><p>If a product isn't USDA certified organic, we have called that out in our list.</p><h3>A Word About Price</h3><p>Organic cleaners often cost more than nonorganic products. Also, within the organic cleaning category, it's not uncommon to see a wide range of prices. With that in mind, here's how we indicate cost:</p><ul><li><strong>$</strong> = under $10</li><li><strong>$$</strong> = $10–$20</li><li><strong>$$$</strong> = over $20</li></ul>
- How to Make Your Own Natural Cleaning Products - EcoWatch ›
- 10 Natural (And Vegan) Ways to Clean Your Home - EcoWatch ›
- 5 Green Cleaning Products for Tackling Messy Homes - EcoWatch ›
By Cathy Cassata
Since your social calendar has been blank for the last few months, filling it back up can feel liberating — but it can also cause anxiety.
1. Ease Back Into It.<p>For those who live with social anxiety, <a href="https://www.communitypsychiatry.com/providers/allie-shapiro-m-d/" target="_blank">Dr. Allie R. Shapiro</a>, psychiatrist with <a href="https://www.communitypsychiatry.com/" target="_blank">Community Psychiatry</a>, says to slowly enter into a social life<em>.</em></p><p>"This will help them to ease into situations that were previously uncomfortable. As quarantine ends, the auto-avoidance will also end, necessitating their introduction back into situations they deeply fear. That's not a leap anyone should take all at once," Shapiro told Healthline.</p><p>Start by connecting with those in your closest inner circle.</p><p>"That circle is your comfort space, and people you feel most like yourself with and can be honest with and who you trust," Anhalt said.</p><p>When you're ready, she suggests reaching out to people you enjoy being with but may feel nervous around and need warming up to. Eventually, expand your circle to include people and situations that make you anxious.</p><p>"[The idea is to] give yourself a little taste of something that makes you anxious and then wait for the anxiety to calm down. Then increase your exposure a little more and wait for the anxiety to come down," Anhalt said.</p><p>If you're not ready to see people face-to-face, Abelovska suggests setting a goal to talk with a different person each day over the phone or via video chat.</p><p>"After you have had a week of calling a friend a day, why not go further and organize a group call with a few friends to get used to group interaction. If you feel ready, why not get a date [on the calendar] for a socially distanced walk with a friend," she said.</p>
2. Visualize Situations in Your Head.<p>Shapiro recommends preparing for upcoming social events by role-playing specific worries or concerns with someone you trust, on paper or in your head.</p><p>Abelovska elaborates by explaining if you have an upcoming walk planned with a friend or are about to meet them at the park, try to mentally plan your meetup and how you'd like it to go.</p><p>"Visualize your friend when you see them and what you will say. It may be awkward at first, especially as we are not able to hug or touch friends, but you will soon adapt to the new way of greeting a loved one," she said.</p><p>Another strategy Shapiro suggests is to challenge internal negative thought patterns with a reversal thought, either before or during anxiety-provoking situations.</p><p>For example, if you're going to an outing where you'll be around new people, she says, "Instead of auto-thinking, 'These people won't like me and will make fun of me,' try: 'They've been stuck inside for months just like me. We'll trade stories. They will like me and I'll probably find one new friend,'" she said.</p>
3. Allow Yourself to Be Scared.<p>Even if it seems like everyone around you isn't worried or scared to get back into the world, Shapiro says it's acceptable to have your own reaction and anxieties about the situation.</p><p>"Remember, no one has ever been through anything like this in the modern world, so no one really knows how to do it 'right.' Even the experts don't have all the answers, so it's normal to have your own uncertainties and doubts," she said.</p><p>Socialize at your comfort level, Shapiro adds.</p><p>"You're not obligated to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or puts you at risk. There are a lot of different factors that will affect when you feel it's the best time to start venturing out. Think about your age, health history, quarantine situations, and even your own anxiety when taking that next step outside," Shapiro said.</p><p>Feelings of safety in the world validate some of our anxieties, notes Anhalt.</p><p>"There is so much unknown about what is ultimately safe, and some of our fears about being out in the world are actually warranted, so it's a good idea to be thoughtful about who you are engaging with socially, and understand if they are [on the same page] as you are," she said.</p><p>Share your feelings of panic and fear over social plans with those who are closest to you.</p><p>"You may feel slightly embarrassed about these feelings, especially if you are usually the life and soul of the party, but there's no shame in feeling slightly overwhelmed by the changes, especially after so much time spent alone," Abelovska said.</p><p>"I can guarantee that at least one of [your friends] will be going through the same thing and will be glad and relieved that you have spoken about it," she said.</p>
4. Practice Self-Care.<p>Prioritizing your physical health, learning breathing exercises, developing self-reflective practices like therapy and journaling, and talking to friends and family about your worries are all practical parts of anxiety management, says Anhalt.</p><p>"While we don't have a playbook, we can rely on coming back to ourselves and the present moment, and making sure we have [reliable] spaces in our lives so we can navigate the spaces that feel out of our control," she said.</p><p>Anhalt believes that people who work proactively on their mental health are better equipped to handle the unknowns.</p><p>"It's like doing emotional pushups, so when things get hard in the world, we have these core tools we can come back to that make us feel grounded," she said.</p><p>She compares going back into the world like participating in an obstacle course that you didn't get to see in advance.</p><p>"You might not be able to prepare for everything you're going to encounter, but you can get your body and mind ready to handle difficult things beforehand. This will put you in a better position to navigate anything that comes your way," Anhalt said.</p>
5. Get Professional Help.<p>If you've tried all you can to assimilate back into some form of socializing but anxiety and panic are interfering with your ability to do so, it may be time to reach out to a mental health professional.</p><p>Search the <a href="https://members.adaa.org/page/FATMain?" target="_blank">Anxiety and Depression Association of America</a> for a licensed mental health professional who specializes in anxiety and related disorders.</p>
- How to Deal With Cabin Fever - EcoWatch ›
- Online Therapy Is Showing How to Expand Mental Health Services ... ›
- Anxiety Medication Prescriptions up 34% Since Coronavirus ... ›
Kris Ubach and Quim Roser / Getty Images
By Louis J. Ignarro
Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. It's not just something you do in yoga class – breathing this way actually provides a powerful medical benefit that can help the body fight viral infections.
The Role of Nitric Oxide in the Body<p>Nitric oxide is a widespread signaling molecule that triggers many different physiological effects. It is also used clinically as a gas to selectively dilate the pulmonary arteries in newborns with pulmonary hypertension. Unlike most signaling molecules, NO is a gas in its natural state.</p><p>NO is produced continuously by the 1 trillion cells that form the inner lining, or <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endothelium" target="_blank">endothelium</a>, of the 100,000 miles of arteries and veins in our bodies, especially the lungs. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-201X.1996.557321000.x" target="_blank">Endothelium-derived NO</a> acts to relax the smooth muscle of the arteries to prevent high blood pressure and to promote blood flow to all organs. Another vital role of NO is to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1161/hh0801.089861" target="_blank">prevent blood clots in normal arteries</a>.</p><p>In addition to relaxing vascular smooth muscle, NO also <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biological_functions_of_nitric_oxide" target="_blank">relaxes smooth muscle in the airways</a> – trachea and bronchioles – making it easier to breathe. Another type of NO-mediated smooth muscle relaxation occurs in the erectile tissue (corpus cavernosum), which results in penile erection. In fact, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM199201093260203" target="_blank">NO is the principal mediator of penile erection and sexual arousal.</a> This discovery led to the development and marketing of <a href="https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/fda-approves-viagra" target="_blank">sildenafil</a>, trade name Viagra, which works by enhancing the action of NO.</p><p>Other types of cells in the body, including circulating white blood cells and tissue macrophages, produce nitric oxide for <a href="https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199998" target="_blank">antimicrobial purposes</a>. The NO in these cells reacts with other molecules, also produced by the same cells, to form antimicrobial agents to destroy invading microorganisms including bacteria, parasites and viruses. As you can see, NO is quite an amazing molecule.</p>
Nitric Oxide Gas as an Inhaled Therapy<p>Since NO is a gas, it can be administered with the aid of specialized devices as a therapy to patients by inhalation. Inhaled NO is used to treat infants born with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1097/ALN.0000000000002579" target="_blank">persistent pulmonary hypertension</a>, a condition in which constricted pulmonary arteries limit blood flow and oxygen harvesting.</p><p>Inhaled NO dilates the constricted pulmonary arteries and increases blood flow in the lungs. As a result, the red blood cell hemoglobin can extract more lifesaving oxygen and move it into the general circulation. Inhaled NO has literally turned blue babies pink and allowed them to be cured and to go home with mom and dad. Before the advent of inhaled NO, most of these babies died.</p><p>Inhaled NO is <a href="https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04338828?term=nitric+oxide&cond=COVID&draw=2&rank=1" target="_blank">currently in clinical trials</a> for the treatment of patients with <a href="https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20200520/evidence-mounts-supporting-inhaled-nitric-oxide-as-covid19-treatment" target="_blank">COVID-19</a>. Researchers are hoping that three principal actions of NO may help fight covid: dilating the pulmonary arteries and increasing blood flow through the lungs, dilating the airways and increasing oxygen delivery to the lungs and blood, and directly killing and inhibiting the growth and spread of the coronavirus in the lungs.</p>
How Nitric Oxide Kills Viruses<p>In an in vitro study done in 2004 during the last SARS outbreak, experimental compounds that release NO increased the survival rate of nucleus-containing mammalian cells infected with SARS-CoV. This suggested <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2004.04.012" target="_blank">that NO had a direct antiviral effect</a>. In this study, NO significantly inhibited the replication cycle of SARS-CoV by blocking production of viral proteins and its genetic material, RNA.</p><p>In a small clinical study in 2004, inhaled NO <a href="https://doi.org/10.1086/425357" target="_blank">was effective</a> against SARS-CoV in severely ill patients with pneumonia.</p><p>The SARS CoV, which caused the 2003/2004 outbreak, shares most of its genome with SARS CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. This suggests that inhaled NO therapy may be effective for treating patients with COVID-19. Indeed, <a href="https://www.healio.com/news/primary-care/20200520/evidence-mounts-supporting-inhaled-nitric-oxide-as-covid19-treatment" target="_blank">several clinical trials of inhaled NO</a> in patients with moderate to severe COVID-19, who require ventilators, are currently ongoing in several institutions. The hope is that inhaled NO will prove to be an effective therapy and lessen the need for ventilators and beds in the ICU.</p><p>The <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/ar.20782" target="_blank">sinuses in the nasal cavity</a>, but not the mouth, continuously produce NO. The NO produced in the nasal cavity is chemically identical to the NO that is used clinically by inhalation. So by inhaling through the nose, you are delivering NO directly into your lungs, where it increases both airflow and blood flow and keeps microorganisms and virus particles in check.</p><p>While anxiously awaiting the results of the clinical trials with inhaled NO, and the development of an effective <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/heres-exactly-where-were-at-with-vaccines-and-treatments-for-covid-19" target="_blank">vaccine against COVID-19</a>, we should be on guard and practice breathing properly to maximize the inhalation of nitric oxide into our lungs. Remember to inhale through your nose; exhale through your mouth.</p>
By Claudia Finkelstein
As a physician, daughter and socially responsible human, I'm finding Father's Day to be complicated for me this year, as it is for millions. Questions of whether and how to see my adult children and my own elderly father present medical and ethical quandaries. As an associate professor of family medicine with a focus on wellness, I'd like to share with you my thinking about this using some tools to aid discernment as Father's Day approaches.
Personal Risk<p>Assessing your personal risk is one aspect of the matrix. Are you or is your father in a high-risk group? Presence of chronic disease or age over 65 are two major risks. You can check this <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/groups-at-higher-risk.html" target="_blank">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chart</a> for more specific details.</p><p>Besides your specific personal risks, are either of you in repeated contact with the public through your job? Did you participate in the protests or spend time in other crowded public events?</p><p>Are you <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html" target="_blank">symptomatic</a>?</p><p>Have you been exposed to a carrier? Are young children, who can be asymptomatic carriers, in the picture?</p><p>If any of these questions is answered with a yes, it is certainly wise to forgo any thought of an in-person visit. If all are no, you can proceed to the next part of the matrix.</p>
Where You Live Matters<p>Are you in a high-prevalence area for coronavirus or in a state with rising rates? If you are in a sparsely populated area with low regional prevalence, it makes more sense to consider an in-person visit than if you (or he) live in a place with a high number of cases or rising numbers of cases. Check your <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/us-map" target="_blank">local prevalence here</a>.</p><p>If neither of you is at elevated risk and you are not in an extremely high-prevalence area, the next question is: Can you see each other in person without violating any orders? Consult <a href="https://web.csg.org/covid19/state-reopen-plans/" target="_blank">this link for reopening plans</a> affecting your state.</p><p>Remember that the U.S. borders with Canada and Mexico also have restrictions, including a <a href="https://www.cicnews.com/2020/06/how-to-enter-canada-from-the-u-s-during-coronavirus-0614666.html#gs.81blcp" target="_blank">self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Canada</a>. Obviously, any need to travel and ability to quarantine must enter the matrix calculation.</p><p><span></span>Finally, can your in-person visit follow social distancing recommendations? Can you be six feet apart – ideally, outdoors – wash hands frequently and avoid physical contact? Remember, it may be tough not to hug, especially if you do decide to bring children.</p>
By Ryan Raman
Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are commonly available in grocery stores, but many equally delicious berries are abundant in the wild.
1. Elderberries<p>Elderberries are the fruit of various species of the <em>Sambucus</em> plant.</p><p>They thrive in mild to subtropical regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The fruit tends to grow in small clusters and is black, bluish-black, or purple.</p><p>Though the berries of most <em>Sambucus</em> varieties are edible, the <em>Sambucus nigra L. ssp. canadensis </em>variety is the most commonly consumed type.</p><p>It's important to note that elderberries need to be cooked to inactivate alkaloid compounds that can cause nausea if the berries are eaten raw (<a href="https://plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/cs_sanic4.pdf" target="_blank">1</a>).</p><p>Elderberries have a tart, tangy taste, which is why they're typically cooked and sweetened to make juices, jams, chutneys, or elderberry wine.</p><p>These berries are a great source of vitamin C, with 1 cup (145 grams) providing 58% of your daily needs. Vitamin C plays many vital roles in your body but is particularly important for your immune system.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/elderberry" target="_blank">Elderberries</a> are also rich in vitamin B6, which supports immune function.</p><p>The nutrient composition of elderberries and elderberry products makes them particularly effective at boosting immune health.</p><p>For example, a study in 312 adults found that taking 300 mg of an elderberry extract supplement both before and after traveling significantly reduced the duration and severity of colds, compared with a placebo.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Elderberries have a tart, tangy taste when raw, so they're best enjoyed cooked. They're loaded with vitamin C and vitamin B6, both of which support immune health.</p>
2. Cloudberries<p>Cloudberries are berries of the plant <em>Rubus chamaemorus</em>, which grows in higher elevations in cool, boggy areas in the Northern Hemisphere.</p><p>The cloudberry plant has white flowers, and the yellow-to-orange fruit resembles a raspberry.</p><p>Fresh cloudberries are soft, juicy, and fairly tart. Their taste is best described as a mix between <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/raspberry-nutrition" target="_blank">raspberries</a> and red currants — with a hint of floral sweetness. They are safe to eat raw.</p><p>Cloudberries are high in vitamin C, providing 176% of your daily needs in 3.5 ounces (100 grams).</p><p>They're also high in ellagitannins, which are powerful antioxidants that can help protect your cells from free radical damage.</p><p>What's more, according to animal and test-tube studies, ellagitannins may have anticancer effects, boost your immune system, and fight inflammation.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Cloudberries have a slightly tart, sweet taste. They contain powerful antioxidants known as ellagitannins that may protect against free radical damage and offer other health benefits.</p>
3. Huckleberry<p>Huckleberry is the North American name for the berries of several plant species in the <em>Vaccinium </em>and <em>Gaylussacia </em>genera.</p><p>Wild huckleberries grow in mountainous regions, forests, bogs, and lake basins in Northwestern America and Western Canada. The berries are small and either red, blue, or black.</p><p>Ripe huckleberries are fairly sweet with a little tartness. Though they can be eaten fresh, they're often made into tasty beverages, jams, puddings, candies, syrups, and other foods.</p><p>Huckleberries are rich in powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins and polyphenols. In fact, they contain more of these beneficial compounds than antioxidant-rich fruits like <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-blueberries" target="_blank">blueberries</a>.</p><p>Diets rich in anthocyanins and polyphenols have been linked to impressive health benefits, including reduced inflammation, a lower risk of heart disease, and anticancer effects.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Huckleberries are fairly sweet with a little tartness and can be enjoyed fresh or cooked. They're rich in powerful antioxidants, including anthocyanins and polyphenols.</p>
4. Gooseberries<p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gooseberries" target="_blank">Gooseberries</a> belong to two major groups — European gooseberries (<em>Ribes grossularia var. uva-crispa</em>) and American gooseberries (<em>Ribes hirtellum</em>).</p><p>They're native to Europe, Asia, and North America and grow on a bush approximately 3–6 feet (1–1.8 meters) high. The berries are small, round, and vary from green to red or purple in color.</p><p>Gooseberries can be very tart or very sweet. They're eaten fresh or used as an ingredient in pies, wines, jams, and syrups.</p><p>They're high in vitamin C, with 1 cup (150 grams) providing 46% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).</p><p>In addition, the same serving packs a whopping 6.5 grams of dietary fiber, which is 26% of the daily value. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-is-fiber-good-for-you" target="_blank">Dietary fiber</a> is a type of indigestible carb that's essential for healthy digestion.</p><p>They also contain the antioxidant protocatechuic acid, which has been shown to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects in animal and test-tube studies.</p><p>Although these results are promising, more human research is needed to confirm these potential benefits.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Gooseberries can be tart or sweet and enjoyed fresh or cooked. They're high in fiber, vitamin C, and the antioxidant protocatechuic acid.</p>
5. Chokeberries<p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/aronia-berries" target="_blank">Chokeberries</a> (<em>Aronia</em>) grow on a shrub that's native to eastern North America.</p><p>They have a semisweet yet tart taste and can be eaten fresh, although they're more commonly made into wines, jams, spreads, juices, teas, and ice cream.</p><p>Chokeberries typically grow in wet woods and swamps. There are three main species of chokeberry — the red chokeberry (<em>Aronia arbutifolia</em>), black chokeberry (<em>Aronia melanocarpa</em>), and purple chokeberry (<em>Aronia prunifolia</em>).</p><p>Chokeberries are particularly high in <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-vitamin-k" target="_blank">vitamin K</a>, a nutrient that supports bone health and is needed for important bodily functions, such as proper blood clotting.</p><p>They're also high in antioxidants, such as phenolic acids, anthocyanins, flavonols, and proanthocyanidins. These powerful plant compounds give chokeberries one of the highest antioxidant capacities of all fruits.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Chokeberries have a semisweet yet tart taste and can be enjoyed fresh or cooked. They're high in vitamin K and numerous antioxidants.</p>
6. Mulberries<p>Mulberries (<em>Morus</em>) are a group of flowering plants that belong to the <em>Moraceae</em> family.</p><p>They grow in mild to subtropical regions in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Mulberries are multiple fruits, which means they grow in clusters.</p><p>The berries are approximately 3/4 to 1 1/4 inches (2–3 cm) in length and typically dark purple to black in color. Some species can be red or white.</p><p>Mulberries are juicy and sweet and can be enjoyed fresh or in pies, cordials, and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-herbal-teas" target="_blank">herbal teas</a>. They're packed with vitamin C and provide good amounts of B vitamins, magnesium, and potassium.</p><p>Additionally, 1 cup (140 grams) of mulberries offers an impressive 14% of your daily iron needs. This mineral is necessary for important processes in your body, such as growth, development, and blood cell production.</p><p>What's more, mulberries are packed with anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that are strong antioxidants.</p><p>Test-tube and animal studies show that mulberry extract may help lower <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/15-ways-to-lower-blood-sugar" target="_blank">blood sugar levels</a>, aid weight loss, fight cancer, and protect your brain from damage.</p><p>All of these benefits may be due to its high concentration of antioxidants, which include anthocyanins.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Mulberries are juicy, sweet berries that are delicious fresh or cooked. They're high in iron and anthocyanin antioxidants.</p>
7. Salmonberry<p>Salmonberries are the fruit of the <em>Rubus spectabilis</em> plant, which belongs to the rose family.</p><p>The plants are native to North America, where they can grow up to 6.6–13 feet (2–4 meters) tall in moist coastal forests and along shorelines.</p><p>Salmonberries are yellow to orange-red and look like blackberries. They're fairly tasteless and can be eaten raw.</p><p>However, they're commonly combined with other ingredients and made into jam, candy, jelly, and alcoholic drinks.</p><p>Salmonberries are a good source of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/manganese-benefits" target="_blank">manganese</a>, providing 55% of the RDI in 3.5 ounces (100 grams). Manganese is essential for nutrient metabolism and bone health, and it has powerful antioxidant effects.</p><p>The berries also contain good amounts of vitamins K and C, offering 18% and 15% of the RDI in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, respectively.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Salmonberries are fairy tasteless when fresh, so they're commonly made into jams, wines, and other foods. They're a good source of manganese and vitamins C and K.</p>
8. Saskatoon Berries<p><em>Amelanchier alnifolia</em> is a shrub that's native to North America.</p><p>It grows 3–26 feet (1–8 meters) high and produces edible fruit known as saskatoon berries. These purple berries are approximately 1/4–1 inch (5–15 mm) in diameter.</p><p>They have a sweet, nutty flavor and can be eaten fresh or dried. They're used in pies, wines, jams, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/beer-belly" target="_blank">beer</a>, cider, and sometimes cereals and trail mixes.</p><p>Saskatoon berries are one of the best sources of riboflavin (vitamin B2), containing nearly 3 times your daily needs in 3.5 ounces (100 grams).</p><p>Riboflavin — like other B vitamins — plays an essential role in energy production. It's needed to turn your food into energy and may protect your nervous system against disorders like Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Saskatoon berries have a sweet, nutty flavor and can be enjoyed both fresh and dried. They're incredibly high in riboflavin, a very important nutrient.</p>
9. Muscadine<p>Muscadine (<em>Vitis rotundifolia</em>) is a grapevine species native to the United States.</p><p>Muscadines have a thick skin that ranges from bronze to dark purple to black. They have a very sweet yet musky taste, and their flesh's texture is similar to that of plums.</p><p>Muscadines are bursting with riboflavin (vitamin B2), with a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving providing 115% of the RDI. They're also high in dietary fiber — containing 4 grams per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, or 16% of the daily value.</p><p>Dietary fiber may help <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-lower-cholesterol" target="_blank">reduce blood cholesterol</a> levels, promote healthy digestion, and increase weight loss and feelings of fullness.</p><p>These grape-like fruits are not only high in riboflavin and dietary fiber but also contain resveratrol.</p><p>This antioxidant is found in the skin of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-grapes" target="_blank">grapes</a>. Human and animal studies show that resveratrol promotes healthy blood sugar levels and may protect against heart disease and certain cancers.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Muscadine berries have a sweet yet musky taste. They're high in fiber, riboflavin, and resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant.</p>
10. Buffaloberries<p>Buffaloberries (<em>Shepherdia</em>) are the fruit of small shrubs in the <em>Elaeagnaceae</em> family.</p><p>The plants are native to North America and 3–13 feet (1–4 meters) in height. Silver buffaloberry (<em>Shepherdia argentea</em>) is the most common species. It has green leaves covered with fine silvery hairs and pale-yellow flowers that lack petals.</p><p>Buffaloberries have a rough, dark red skin with little white dots. Fresh berries are quite bitter, so they're often cooked and made into delicious jams, jellies, and syrups. Eating too many of these berries in any form can cause diarrhea.</p><p>These berries are bursting with antioxidants, including <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lycopene" target="_blank">lycopene</a>.</p><p>Lycopene is a powerful pigment that gives red, orange, and pink fruits their characteristic color. It has been linked to a number of health benefits.</p><p>For example, studies have associated lycopene with a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and eye conditions, such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (ARMD).</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Buffaloberries are fairly bitter but can be made into delicious jams and syrups. They're high in lycopene, an antioxidant linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, eye conditions, and certain cancers.</p>
8 Poisonous Wild Berries to Avoid<p>While many wild berries are delicious and safe to eat, some you should avoid.</p><p>Certain berries contain toxic compounds that may cause uncomfortable or fatal side effects.</p><p>Here are 8 poisonous wild berries to avoid:</p><ol><li><strong>Holly berries. </strong>These tiny berries contain the toxic compound saponin, which may cause <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-to-eat-when-nauseous" target="_blank">nausea</a>, vomiting, and stomach cramps.</li><li><strong>Mistletoe.</strong> This popular Christmas plant has white berries that contain the toxic compound phoratoxin. It can cause stomach issues and a slow heartbeat (bradycardia), as well as brain, kidney, and adrenal gland toxicity.</li><li><strong>Jerusalem cherries.</strong> Also known as Christmas orange, this plant has yellow-red berries that contain solanine, a compound that can cause gastrointestinal infections, stomach cramping, and an irregular heartbeat (tachycardia).</li><li><strong>Bittersweet.</strong> Also called woody <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/nightshade-vegetables" target="_blank">nightshade</a>, berries from this plant contain solanine. They're similar to Jerusalem cherries and can cause similar side effects.</li><li><strong>Pokeweed berries.</strong> These purple berries look like grapes but contain toxic compounds in the roots, leaves, stem, and fruit. This plant tends to get more toxic as it matures, and eating the berries is potentially fatal.</li><li><strong>Ivy berries.</strong> Purple-black to orange-yellow in color, these berries contain the toxin saponin. They may cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.</li><li><strong>Yew berries.</strong> These bright red berries contain potentially toxic seeds. One study showed that eating too many yew seeds caused seizures.</li><li><strong>Virginia creeper berries. </strong>These climbing vine berries contain toxic amounts of calcium oxalate. Consuming too much of this compound can have toxic effects on your kidneys.</li></ol><p>This list is not exhaustive, and many other poisonous berries grow in the wild. Some toxic berries even look similar to edible ones.</p><p>For this reason, the utmost caution must be taken when harvesting wild berries. If you're ever unsure whether a wild berry is safe, it's best to avoid it.</p><p><strong>Summary</strong></p><p>Many wild berries contain toxic compounds. Be extremely cautious when picking wild berries for consumption.</p>
Bottom Line<p>Many wild <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-reasons-to-eat-berries" target="_blank">berries</a> are delicious and safe to eat.</p><p>They're often packed with nutrients and powerful antioxidants that can provide various health benefits, such as boosting immunity, protecting your brain and heart, and reducing cellular damage.</p><p>However, some wild berries are poisonous and potentially fatal. If you're unsure about a species of wild berry, it's best to avoid eating it, as it's not worth the risk.</p>
By Julia Ries
For the past few months, people have been working out inside their homes. Bedrooms became yoga studios, offices doubled as cycling spaces.
But now, as states reopen, some gyms and fitness studios are welcoming customers again.
Here’s How COVID-19 Can Spread at the Gym<p>One of the main concerns health experts have about COVID-19 is how readily it can spread through the air via respiratory droplets, especially in confined spaces.</p><p>Researchers from South Korea recently warned people against rigorously exercising in confined spaces like fitness studios.</p><p>For an <a href="https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/8/20-0633_article" target="_blank">early release report</a> published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, Korean researchers looked at a confirmed case of COVID-19 and eventually traced consecutive confirmed cases back to a nationwide fitness dance class.</p><p>Ultimately, the research team found 112 COVID-19 cases linked to dance workout classes across 12 different facilities.</p><p>According to the researchers, the moist, warm air combined with turbulent air flow from exercising may create an environment in which droplets can spread readily.</p><p>"Based on recent research, aerosolized droplets can remain airborne for up to 3 hours, making the potential for spread in crowded and confined spaces such as fitness studios problematic," said <a href="https://www.northwell.edu/find-care/find-a-doctor/emergency-medicine/dr-robert-glatter-md-11353725" target="_blank">Dr. Robert Glatter</a>, an emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.</p><p>The size and intensity of the class can also impact transmission.</p>
Take Your Workouts Outdoors<p>The most effective solution is to take your workout outside, according to Liu.</p><p>Gyms with access to outdoor space should consider hosting fitness classes outside, Liu said.</p><p>The risk for contracting the coronavirus outdoors is lower than contracting it inside because coronavirus particles can disperse more quickly outside.</p><p>When working out outside, people should still stay 6 feet away from others, bring their own equipment, and limit the number of people in the group.</p><p>Remember, just because you're outside doesn't mean you can't get sick — it just means you have a lower chance of being exposed to viruses in the air.</p>
Here’s How to Protect Yourself at the Gym<p>If your heart is set on going to the gym, make a plan.</p><p>Liu said everyone has to grade their own risk.</p><p>Look at local transmission in your area (more outbreaks could mean you have a higher risk) and what local health authorities are saying about community spread.</p><p>Consider your own underlying health conditions and age, and whether it's safe for you to be in confined spaces with others.</p><p>"Each person needs to really assess their own risk, and then assess the risk of that situation to determine whether that level of risk is acceptable to themselves," Liu said.</p><p>At the gym, practice good hand hygiene, bring your own equipment when possible, and disinfect any communal weights or mats you may use.</p><p>You may also want to consider wearing a mask while exercising.</p><p>Though this can be tricky with high intensity workouts, masking will ultimately help us share space again, according to Liu.</p><p>Physical distancing can cut your risk of developing COVID-19, too.</p><p>Until there's a readily available vaccine, we shouldn't let our guards down at the gym just yet.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>People are antsy to get back to their normal exercise routines, but many are wondering how risky going to a gym is right now.</p><p>Early evidence shows COVID-19 can spread readily in confined spaces where people are rigorously working out. The safest thing to do is take your workout outdoors.</p><p>If your heart is set on the gym, it's crucial to look at community spread in your area and your own risk factors. When in doubt, wear a mask while exercising if possible, practice physical distancing, and keep washing your hands.</p>
- Should I Exercise During the Coronavirus Pandemic? Experts ... ›
- A Second Wave of COVID-19 Looms Large—and It's Not Because of ... ›
- Airborne Coronavirus Transmission Must Be Taken Seriously, 239 Scientists Tell WHO - EcoWatch ›
- CDC Expands List of Those With Higher COVID-19 Risks - EcoWatch ›
- WHO Says Coronavirus Is Likely Airborne - EcoWatch ›
1. Matcha Powder<p>This vibrant green tea powder is popular among health enthusiasts because it's rich in L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid with powerful stress-relieving properties.</p><p>Matcha is a better source of this amino acid than other types of green tea, as it's made from green tea leaves grown in shade. This process increases its content of certain compounds, including <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/l-theanine" target="_blank">L-theanine</a>.</p><p>Both human and animal studies show that matcha may reduce stress if its L-theanine content is high enough and its caffeine is low.</p><p>For example, in a 15-day study, 36 people ate cookies containing 4.5 grams of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-benefits-of-matcha-tea" target="_blank">matcha powder</a> each day. They experienced significantly reduced activity of the stress marker salivary alpha-amylase, compared with a placebo group.</p>
2. Swiss Chard<p>Swiss chard is a leafy green vegetable that's packed with stress-fighting nutrients.</p><p>Just 1 cup (175 grams) of cooked <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/swiss-chard" target="_blank">Swiss chard</a> contains 36% of the recommended intake for magnesium, which plays an important role in your body's stress response.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/magnesium-deficiency-symptoms" target="_blank">Low levels of this mineral</a> are associated with conditions like anxiety and panic attacks. Plus, chronic stress may deplete your body's magnesium stores, making this mineral especially important when you're stressed.<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6298677/" target="_blank"></a></p>
3. Sweet Potatoes<p>Eating whole, nutrient-rich carb sources like sweet potatoes may help <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-lower-cortisol" target="_blank">lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol</a>.</p><p>Although cortisol levels are tightly regulated, chronic stress can lead to cortisol dysfunction, which may cause inflammation, pain, and other adverse effects.</p><p>An 8-week study in women with excess weight or obesity found that those who ate a diet rich in whole, nutrient-dense carbs had significantly lower levels of salivary cortisol than those who followed a standard American diet high in refined carbs.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sweet-potato-benefits" target="_blank">Sweet potatoes</a> are a whole food that makes an excellent carb choice. They're packed with nutrients that are important for stress response, such as vitamin C and potassium.<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3560823/" target="_blank"></a></p>
4. Kimchi<p>Kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish that's typically made with napa cabbage and daikon, a type of radish. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-fermented-foods" target="_blank">Fermented foods</a> like kimchi are packed with beneficial bacteria called probiotics and high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.<span></span></p><p>Research reveals that fermented foods may help reduce stress and anxiety. For example, in a study in 710 young adults, those who ate fermented foods more frequently experienced fewer symptoms of social anxiety.</p><p>Many other studies show that probiotic supplements and probiotic-rich foods like <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-kimchi" target="_blank">kimchi</a> have beneficial effects on mental health. This is likely due to their interactions with your gut bacteria, which directly affect your mood.</p>
5. Artichokes<p>Artichokes are an incredibly concentrated source of fiber and especially rich in prebiotics, a type of fiber that feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut.<span></span></p><p>Animal studies indicate that <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-best-prebiotic-foods" target="_blank">prebiotics</a> like fructooligosaccharides (FOSs), which are concentrated in artichokes, may help reduce stress levels.</p><p>Plus, one review demonstrated that people who ate 5 or more grams of prebiotics per day experienced improved anxiety and depression symptoms, as well as that high quality, prebiotic-rich diets may reduce your risk of stress.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/artichoke-benefits" target="_blank">Artichokes</a> are also high in potassium, magnesium, and vitamins C and K, all of which are essential for a healthy stress response.<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3560823/" target="_blank"></a></p>
6. Organ Meats<p>rgan meats, which include the heart, liver, and kidneys of animals like cows and chickens, are an excellent source of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-complex" target="_blank">B vitamins</a>, especially B12, B6, riboflavin, and folate, which are essential for stress control.</p><p>For example, B vitamins are necessary for the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which help regulate mood.</p><p>Supplementing with B vitamins or eating foods like <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/organ-meats" target="_blank">organ meats</a> may help reduce stress. A review of 18 studies in adults found that B vitamin supplements lowered stress levels and significantly benefited mood.</p><p>Just 1 slice (85 grams) of beef liver delivers over 50% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin B6 and folate, over 200% of the DV for riboflavin, and over 2,000% of the DV for vitamin B12.<a href="https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/782309/nutrients" target="_blank"></a></p>
7. Eggs<p>Eggs are often referred to as nature's multivitamin because of their impressive nutrient profile. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-health-benefits-of-eggs" target="_blank">Whole eggs</a> are packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants needed for a healthy stress response.</p><p>Whole eggs are particularly rich in choline, a nutrient found in large amounts in only a few foods. <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-choline" target="_blank">Choline</a> has been shown to play an important role in brain health and may protect against stress.</p><p>Animal studies note that choline supplements may aid stress response and boost mood.</p>
8. Shellfish<p>Shellfish, which include mussels, clams, and oysters, are high in amino acids like taurine, which has been studied for its potential mood-boosting properties.<span></span></p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-taurine" target="_blank">Taurine</a> and other amino acids are needed to produce neurotransmitters like dopamine, which are essential for regulating stress response. In fact, studies indicate that taurine may have antidepressant effects.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/shellfish" target="_blank">Shellfish</a> are also loaded with vitamin B12, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium, all of which may help boost mood. A study in 2,089 Japanese adults associated low intakes of zinc, copper, and manganese with depression and anxiety symptoms.</p>
9. Acerola Cherry Powder<p>Acerola cherries are one of the most concentrated <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-foods" target="_blank">sources of vitamin C</a>. They boast 50–100% more vitamin C than citrus fruits like oranges and lemons.<span></span></p><p>Vitamin C is involved in stress response. What's more, high vitamin C levels are linked to elevated mood and lower levels of depression and anger. Plus, eating foods rich in this vitamin may improve overall mood.</p><p>Although they can be enjoyed fresh, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/acerola-cherry" target="_blank">acerola cherries</a> are highly perishable. As such, they're most often sold as a powder, which you can add to foods and beverages.</p>
10. Fatty Fish<p>Fatty fish like mackerel, herring, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-benefits-of-salmon" target="_blank">salmon</a>, and sardines are incredibly rich in omega-3 fats and vitamin D, nutrients that have been shown to help reduce stress levels and improve mood.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-health-benefits-of-omega-3" target="_blank">Omega-3s</a> are not only essential for brain health and mood but may also help your body handle stress. In fact, low omega-3 intake is linked to increased anxiety and depression in Western populations.</p><p>Vitamin D also plays critical roles in mental health and stress regulation. Low levels are associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression.</p>
11. Parsley<p>Parsley is a nutritious herb that's packed with antioxidants — compounds that neutralize unstable molecules called free radicals and protect against oxidative stress.</p><p>Oxidative stress is associated with many illnesses, including mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Studies suggest that a diet rich in antioxidants may help prevent stress and anxiety.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-antioxidants" target="_blank">Antioxidants</a> can also help reduce inflammation, which is often high in those with chronic stress.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/parsley-benefits" target="_blank">Parsley</a> is especially rich in carotenoids, flavonoids, and volatile oils, all of which have powerful antioxidant properties.</p>
12. Garlic<p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-health-benefits-of-garlic" target="_blank">Garlic</a> is high in sulfur compounds that help increase levels of glutathione. This antioxidant is part of your body's first line of defense against stress.<span></span></p><p>What's more, animal studies suggest that garlic helps combat stress and <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-foods-that-reduce-anxiety" target="_blank">reduce symptoms of anxiety</a> and depression. Still, more human research is needed.</p>
13. Tahini<p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/tahini-benefits" target="_blank">Tahini</a> is a rich spread made from sesame seeds, which are an excellent source of the amino acid L-tryptophan.</p><p>L-tryptophan is a precursor of the mood-regulating neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Following a diet high in <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/tryptophan" target="_blank">tryptophan</a> may help boost mood and ease symptoms of depression and anxiety.</p><p>In a 4-day study in 25 young adults, a high tryptophan diet led to better mood, decreased anxiety, and reduced depression symptoms, compared with a diet low in this amino acid.</p>
14. Sunflower Seeds<p>Sunflower seeds are a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-high-in-vitamin-e" target="_blank">rich source of vitamin E</a>. This fat-soluble vitamin acts as a powerful antioxidant and is essential for mental health.</p><p>A low intake of this nutrient is associated with altered mood and depression.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sunflower-seeds" target="_blank">Sunflower seeds</a> are also high in other stress-reducing nutrients, including magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc, B vitamins, and copper.</p>
15. Broccoli<p>Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli are renowned for their health benefits. A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables may lower your risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and mental health disorders like depression.<span></span></p><p>Cruciferous vegetables like <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-broccoli" target="_blank">broccoli</a> are some of the most concentrated food sources of some nutrients — including magnesium, vitamin C, and folate — that have been proven to combat depressive symptoms.</p><p>Broccoli is also rich in <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sulforaphane" target="_blank">sulforaphane</a>, a sulfur compound that has neuroprotective properties and may offer calming and antidepressant effects.</p><p>Additionally, 1 cup (184 grams) of cooked broccoli packs over 20% of the DV for vitamin B6, a higher intake of which is tied to a lower risk of anxiety and depression in women.</p>
16. Chickpeas<p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/chickpeas-nutrition-benefits" target="_blank">Chickpeas</a> are packed with stress-fighting vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, manganese, and copper.</p><p>These delicious legumes are also rich in L-tryptophan, which your body needs to produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters.</p><p>Research has found that diets rich in plant proteins like chickpeas may help boost brain health and improve mental performance.</p><p>In a study in over 9,000 people, those who followed a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mediterranean-diet-meal-plan" target="_blank">Mediterranean diet</a> rich in plant foods like legumes experienced better mood and less stress than those who followed a typical Western diet rich in processed foods.</p>
17. Chamomile Tea<p>Chamomile is a medicinal herb that has been used since ancient times as a natural stress reducer. Its tea and extract have been shown to <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/9-foods-to-help-you-sleep" target="_blank">promote restful sleep</a> and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.<span></span></p><p>An 8-week study in 45 people with anxiety demonstrated that taking 1.5 grams of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-benefits-of-chamomile-tea" target="_blank">chamomile</a> extract reduced salivary cortisol levels and improved anxiety symptoms.</p>
18. Blueberries<p>Blueberries are associated with a number of health benefits, including improved mood.<span></span></p><p>These berries are high in <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-are-flavonoids-everything-you-need-to-know" target="_blank">flavonoid</a> antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. They may help reduce stress-related inflammation and protect against stress-related cellular damage.</p><p>What's more, studies have shown that eating flavonoid-rich foods like <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-proven-benefits-of-blueberries" target="_blank">blueberries</a> may safeguard against depression and boost your mood.</p>
The Bottom Line<p>Numerous foods contain nutrients that may help you <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-relieve-stress-anxiety" target="_blank">reduce stress</a>.</p><p>Matcha powder, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-health-benefits-of-fish" target="_blank">fatty fish</a>, kimchi, garlic, chamomile tea, and broccoli are just a few that may help.</p><p>Try incorporating some of these foods and beverages into your diet to naturally promote stress relief.</p>
By Ann-Christin Herbe
Normally, it is easy for me to motivate myself to work out. But there are also the days when my couch seems so much more comfortable than the weight bench in the gym.
On such days, out of habit, I mostly reach for my cell phone and open Instagram to distract myself and buy a little more time. I'll go just a little later, I tell myself. Probably.
Not Good for the Self-Image<p>After just a couple of minutes on the social media platform, I am already being confronted with just how sporty other people seem to be. A muscular man is doing push-ups; a young woman in tight sportswear is holding a plate in front of the camera — hashtags: fitforlife and cleaneating.</p><p>Can this motivate me to do some sport today after all? Or does it only rub in my own weaknesses? Instagram has a bad reputation when it comes to influencing people's image of themselves. According to a <a href="https://www.rsph.org.uk/uploads/assets/uploaded/d125b27c-0b62-41c5-a2c0155a8887cd01.pdf" target="_blank">British study</a> from 2017, no other social media platform has such a negative impact on body image, sleep behavior and mental health.</p>
Instagram a Motivator After All?<p>Despite this, it would seem that it is, in fact, worthwhile spending a few minutes with the app every so often. A new study by scientists from the <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00071/full" target="_blank">Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)</a> shows that those who regularly watch motivational content on Instagram are more likely to be active and enjoy sports more.</p><p><span></span>"Our goal was to show people what their personal motivation is to do sports," says one of the study authors from NTNU, Frode Stenseng.</p><p>To test the influence of Instagram on sports motivation, the study participants were divided into two groups. One group followed an Instagram account that posted motivational sayings or images every three days over a period of four weeks, while the other one didn't.</p>
Sporting Fun Through Personal Initiative<p>The posts on the account were based on various motivation theories. They were meant to give users the feeling that they were part of a group and yet were acting autonomously at the same time.</p><p>"The participants who followed the motivation account associated many positive emotions with their sporting activities. The others did not," says Stenseng. This is because those who feel they have decided to do a workout on their own initiative because it fulfills their desire for fitness and health have more fun doing it.</p>
Targets Should Remain Realistic<p>"Reading motivational sayings in social networks can certainly trigger an initial motivation to want to do sport," says <a href="https://www.mindvisory.com/coaches/wolfram.html" target="_blank">motivation coach Petra Wolfram</a>. Nevertheless, it takes more than just motivation to get those sports shoes on.</p><p>"Before I set myself a goal, I take stock of where I am at," says Wolfram. The next step is to consider what one actually wants to achieve. "The goal is allowed to be a bit of a dream, but it should also be realistically achievable," she says. If not, she says, people who are just starting off in sports will tend to give up quickly.</p>
Set Milestones<p>Wolfram has other tips for getting people moving: "The path to the goal is important. I like to compare it with climbing a mountain. When you're at the bottom, you may not be able to see the summit yet, so you have to set in-between goals."</p><p>And if you experience a setback, you shouldn't focus on it for too long, says Wolfram. "Don't ask 'Why did this happen to me?' as much as 'What can I do better and what do I need to get ahead?'"</p>
The Business of Fitness Influencers<p>Instagram is the perfect platform to market your own sporty lifestyle. Fitness influencers provide their followers with recipe ideas and self-designed training programs — some free of charge, some for large sums of money. Along with this comes the daily message: "You are part of the community; we'll get fit together."</p><p>As well as likes and comments, the influencers profit above all from the willingness of their community to spend money. In an American study, 82% of people surveyed said they would buy a product if an influencer recommended it to them. The more people the influencers reach, the more companies pay them for cooperating.</p><p>"Influencers have an enormous reach and impact these days," says psychologist Silje Berg. But she says there is a problem in that much of the content propagated by influencers in the fitness scene is not based on scientific knowledge.</p><p>"The study showed that content based on theory can have positive effects, which is why it is important that more people in this area make good use of their reach," says Berg. It is also important for users to approach the content on the platform with a critical eye, she says.</p>
Negative Feedback Through Comments<p>So-called transformation journeys — when a person's sporting development is accompanied from the very beginning — are also popular. "The encouragement and recognition that people experience through comments can have a motivating effect," says motivation coach Wolfram. "And people start talking with one another and giving each other support."</p><p>But not every interaction on Instagram is positive. Comment sections are never without expressions of hate, envy and negativity. Wolfram warns that reading such comments can be demotivating. "It's important to develop a thick skin against such comments to protect yourself," she says.</p><p><span></span>When she works with competitive athletes, she gets them to completely avoid social media for a few days before a top event or after a big failure as a way of protecting themselves.</p>
Relevance of Health and Sports<p>But despite the disparaging remarks to be found in comment sections and the negative influence Instagram seems to have on people's body image, the researchers from Norway found several good aspects to the social media platform.</p><p> "The study showed that social media can also have a positive influence and is useful in drawing attention to the relevance of health and sports," says Berg.</p><p>And for me, that now means it's high time to get off the couch and go do some sport!<span></span></p>
- How Much Exercise May Be Just Right? - EcoWatch ›
- How 4-Second Workouts Can Counteract Sitting All Day - EcoWatch ›
- 10 Minutes of Daily Exercise Could Prevent Disability in Old Age ... ›