Quantcast

8 Foods That Will Keep You Cool, Calm & Totally Relaxed

Here's to a literal taste of tranquility.

Wellness

I don't know if it's age, wisdom, experience or all three but, the older I get, the more aggressive I am about removing any person, place, thing or idea from my life that stresses me out. Yes, I am well aware of the fact that putting "aggressive" in the context of removing stress might seem like a bit of a contradiction, but you know what they say—if nothing changes…nothing changes. Sometimes—shoot, most times—you can't just "will" something to shift in your life. You've got to develop a mindset of progress, then follow that up with habits that will help you to evolve.

When it comes to stress, I've done my research. I'm aware that it is a leading cause of premature death. So yeah, I'm definitely out here looking for things that I can do in order to be anti-stressed out. One thing that might surprise you is, altering your diet a bit can do wonders for keeping you in a cool, calm and totally relaxed state of mind. If that's something you'd like a bit more of right through here, I've got eight foods that can help you to reach your goal.

1. Yogurt

Shutterstock

If you've ever wondered what yogurt is, it's fermented milk that creates a yogurt culture which is basically a form of fermented lactose. As a result of the yogurt-making process, lactic acid is produced; it's what gives yogurt the taste and texture that it has. As far as health benefits go, yogurt is great because it's high in calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins B and D. This means that it's the kind of food that strengthens immunity and bones, as well as being high in protein and promoting heart and gut health.

The reason why yogurt makes this particular list is thanks to the magnesium (which is a natural nerve relaxant) that is in it. Plus, a study from several years back revealed that yogurt is wonderful at treating stress and anxiety because it can actually lower the levels of activity in the brain that are directly responsible for us feeling emotions and even certain levels of pain.

2. Dark Chocolate

Shutterstock

It's kind of crazy that something so delicious can also be so good for you. If you make a point it eat a small piece of dark chocolate (that contains no less than 60-70 percent cocoa), you can improve your blood sugar levels, fight off free radicals, improve the appearance of your skin (thanks to the antioxidants that are in it), keep your cholesterol levels under control and reduce your chances of getting heart disease by as much as 57 percent. Because dark chocolate also has a pretty good reputation for improving cognitive function, if you find yourself feeling irritated or not being in the best of moods, a little bit of it may be all that you need to lift your spirits right on up.

3. Garlic

Shutterstock

Garlic is the kind of plant (that's a part of the onion family) that is used for all kinds of medicinal purposes. It shortens the lifespan of colds. It improves cholesterol levels. It helps to purify blood. It contains the type of antioxidants that help to prevent the type of oxidative damage that can ultimately lead to Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Speaking of oxidative damage, another benefit that comes with eating foods that reduce it is they can help to decrease stress levels in the body too. Plus, garlic can lower glucose levels which can also induce feelings of calm and tranquility.

4. Citrus Fruit

Shutterstock

You probably already know that citrus fruit has lots of Vitamin C (which means tons of antioxidants). But that's not all. Citrus fruit is also high in fiber, reduces the risk of kidney stones, boosts heart health and strengthens your cognitive function. If you're feeling kinda stressed out, snacking on a few slices of orange or grapefruit, or even sipping on some water that has lemon and lime in it can reduce stress levels. Why? Because that is something that Vitamin C is naturally able to do. Matter of fact, if you'd rather go the aromatherapy route, orange essential oil can relieve anxiety and reduce some of the symptoms that are associated with panic attacks; grapefruit essential oil can help to keep you from feeling burned out and lemon oil can improve your mood and instantly make you feel more relaxed.

5. Bell Peppers

Shutterstock

Whether they're red, orange, yellow or green, you are only doing your health a favor if you eat bell peppers on a regular basis. Not only do they contain vitamins A, C and E, they are also a vegetable that is loaded with fiber, folate and iron. On the health tip, bell peppers contain 30 different carotenoids (a type of plant chemicals) that help to keep your eyes healthy as they also fight off free radicals. Something else that's cool about red bell peppers specifically is, if you eat a cup of them, you'll get over 150 percent of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C that you need.

Bell peppers are considered to be a "calming food" due to the Vitamin B6 that they have in them. It's the kind of vitamin that helps your brain to produce serotonin and norepinephrine so that you remain in a tranquil mood throughout the day and you're able to sleep more soundly at night.

6. Whole Grains

Shutterstock

In a nutshell, whole grains are foods that consist of the entire grain—the bran, germ and endosperm. When you choose to eat whole grain foods, it can benefit you because, not only are whole grains packed with protein, fiber, antioxidants and B vitamins but whole grains can also lower your risk of type 2 diabetes and reduce chronic inflammation as well as support healthy digestion. If you consume whole grain popcorn, cereal, pasta or bread, another thing that whole grain can do is help to release serotonin into your system, causing you to feel happier and more at ease than before you ate it.

7. Tart Cherry Juice

Shutterstock

Tart cherry juice is something that I am personally a big fan of. I like sour stuff so I will give you a heads up that it does have a bit of a "bite" to it. But, after a couple of cups, it's pretty easy to get used to. Anyway, this is a type of juice that is high in vitamins A and C. It also contains some manganese, potassium and Vitamin K. If you're an athlete, it's great at relieving muscle soreness. One study reveals that tart cherry juice can reduce inflammation that is related to arthritis. It's also the kind of juice that contains antioxidants that help to keep your brain in good condition. Drink it hot or cold before turning in at night and tart cherry juice will significantly increase your chances of getting a good night's sleep; that's thanks to the tryptophan and anthocyanins that's in it. Both of these compounds work together to create melatonin, which is a natural hormone in the body that helps to promote calm and ultimately, sleepiness.

8. Pistachios

Shutterstock

There are several reasons why it can only work in your favor to snack on a handful of pistachios a couple of times a week. They are a pretty good source of protein and fiber. They're also high in copper (which is great if you're trying to fight premature greying the natural way). The health benefits of pistachios include the fact that they are loaded with antioxidants, they help to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and they have amino acid L-arginine in them. L-arginine is good because, when it changes over to nitric oxide in your system, not only can that increase blood circulation throughout your body, it can help your blood vessels to relax as well. Plus, being that pistachios contain more Vitamin B6 than most other foods, it's the kind of nut that can definitely keep you calm, cool and well-rested. Now, how about getting yourself a bag of 'em?

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

In A Bad Mood? These Foods Will Lift Your Spirits!

7 Fun Foods That Promote Inner Body Balance

Stressed Out? Here Are 10 Steps Towards Immediate Calm

4 Unconventional Ways To Relieve Anxiety

Featured image by Shutterstock

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

If there's one thing Historically Black Universities are known, it's fostering a sense of interconnectedness for collaborative genius to thrive. Of all campuses, it was on the soil of The Mecca, Howard University, where She'Neil Johnson-Spencer and Nicolette Graves rooted their friendship and aligned their passion for beauty and natural brains. Today, the two have founded a skincare brand of their own, Base Butter, that has not only carved out their niche space in the market but rallied a community of women to glow from the inside out.

Keep reading... Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

August invites you to shine bright like the sun which requires you to leave behind the sob stories of being the underdog. Recognize your power as a reflection of the Divine and watch how far you can go. Be mindful of that inner critic when Mercury enters Virgo. For every negative thought, counteract it with three compliments about yourself. When Venus enters her home sign, relationship matters get a whole lot sweeter after the wild ride that was Mercury Retrograde.

Keep reading... Show less

This article is in partnership with Staples.

As a Black woman slaying in business, you're more than likely focused on the bottom line: Serving your customers and making sure the bag doesn't stop coming in. Well, there's obviously more to running a business than just making boss moves, but as the CEO or founder, you might not have the time, energy, or resources to fill in the blanks.

Keep reading... Show less

Lawd, lawd. I'm assuming that I'm not being too presumptuous when I start this all out by saying, I'm pretty sure that more than just a few of us can relate to this title and topic. I know that personally, there are several men from my sexual past who would've been out of my space a lot sooner had the sex not been…shoot, so damn good. And it's because of that very thing that you'll never ever convince me that sex can't mess with your head. The oxytocin highs (that happen when we kiss, cuddle and orgasm) alone can easily explain why a lot of us will make a sexual connection with someone and stay involved with them for weeks, months, years even, even if the mental and emotional dynamic is subpar, at best.

Keep reading... Show less

"Black men, we're in constant warfare. Every day is a fight outside of my house, so why would I want to come home to more fighting when that is the very place where I should be resting? There are loved ones who I don't speak to as much anymore because they aren't peaceful people. A huge part of the reason why I am happier without my ex is she was rarely a source of peace. The older I get, the more I realize that peace really is the foundation of everything; especially relationships, because how can I nurture anything if I'm in a constant state of influx and chaos? Guys don't care how fine a woman is or how great the sex may be if she's not peaceful because there is nothing more valuable than peace. If the closest person to me is not a source of it, that can ultimately play a role in all kinds of disruption and destruction. No man wants that."

Keep reading... Show less
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: Find Confidence With This Summer Workout Created By A Black Woman For Black Women

Tone & Sculpt trainer Danyele Wilson makes fitness goals attainable.

Latest Posts