10 Foods to Reduce Stress

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Article by Sheer Balance

Feeling a little stressed? It is no wonder; we are going through some stressful times these days. The good news is that we can manage this by receiving massages and eating food that reduces stress. Research has shown that consuming certain vitamins and minerals found in certain foods are key to our ability to reduce stress. So next time you feel tightly wound, try some of these:

  1. Blueberries: Blueberries are extremely high in vitamin C and high in fiber. Vitamin C is important to helping our body reduce stress, while fiber helps to regulate our blood sugar levels. Drastic changes in our blood sugar can cause us to have mood swings, which may contribute to anxiety.
  2. Dark Green Vegetables: Spinach, kale, broccoli, kale and other dark green vegetables are great stress reducing foods. They are packed with vitamins that nourish our bodies. They are also high in potassium, which is especially good for calming our nerves. Like blueberries, these are also high in fiber, which not only controls blood sugar but aids in digestion.
  3. Oranges: When we are stressed, our immune systems can suffer. The Vitamin C found in oranges helps to reduce tension and stabilize blood pressure, but also helps to boost our immune system, which can suffer under stressful situations.
  4. Sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite stress reducing foods. They satisfy those of us who crave carbohydrates, while also satisfying one’s sweet tooth. They are rich with beta-carotene and other vitamins, and again, the fiber helps your body process the sugar and carbs more slowly.
  5. Fish: Those diets that are high in omega-3 essential fatty acids protect against heart disease, keep the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline from peaking.
  6. Skimmed milk: As a result of its protein, skim-milk helps stabilize blood sugar. To reduce tension, combine, a sweetener and some frozen blueberries in the blender for a healthy pick-me-up that is super good for you, and an excellent alternative to ice cream!
  7. Turkey: Have you ever felt super relaxed after a big Turkey dinner at Thanksgiving? There’s reason for that: Turkey contains an amino acid called L-Tryptophan, which releases serotonin – a feel-good chemical – into our systems. L-Tryptophan has been proven to provide a calming and relaxing effect.
  8. Apricots: They are rich in magnesium, Vitamin C and fiber. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant, which can relax our muscles.
  9. Almonds, Pistachios and Walnuts: Nuts are great stress reducing foods. Almonds, specifically, are loaded with both Vitamins B and E – known to boost your immune system, and walnuts and pistachios help reduce tension and lower blood pressure.
  10. Avocados: Avocados provide a healthful dose of monounsaturated fat and potassium, which help to lower blood pressure. Avocados have more than potassium than bananas!

Want to relieve stress? Call the spa and reserve your massage today then stop by the grocery store and buy some of the above healthy stress reducing foods.   Enjoy!!


6 Last Minute Tips to Look Great for the Party

When it comes to looking and feeling our best in a little black dress (or whatever sexy number you feel like wearing), there is nothing like baring beautifully toned arms and shoulders, and feeling slim in you waste and tummy. What if, however, you have a special event coming up in the next few days and your workouts mostly have been comprised of lounging by the pool? Although there is honestly no substitute to a regular workout program that comprises strength training, there are a few tricks you can use to muster up a sleeker looking you within a week or even a day or two of your big event:

  1. Drop the Salt: Too much salt in ones diet can lead to health issues, such as high blood-pressure. However, it can also cause you to retain water, which can easily add a few extra pounds of weight and cause your body to look bloated. Remove salt from your diet for the week before your big event. Good foods to avoid altogether include Asian food, prepared sauces (soy, ketchup, A-1, BBQ, etc.) and canned or processed foods. All of these tend to contain high amounts of salt and/or sodium.  Also, cook without salt and avoid fast or fried food. When you do consume packaged foods, look for those that are low-sodium or sodium-free.
  2. Hydration = Detox: Drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water a day. Drinking a lot of water ensures that you are flushing out your system and removing excess salt from your body and cells. It also helps to promote regularity, which will help keep your digestive tract from getting constipated or sluggish. One last benefit is that it helps to keep your stomach feels full between meals so that you don’t become overly hungry. If you can, add some lemon juice or fresh lemon to your water for an extra cleansing effect.
  3. Stay Liquid for the Day: Although I’m not a big proponent of liquid diets, sticking with liquid meals for one or two days is a great way to promote regularity and clean out your system of waste. A clean digestive tract will help your stomach look slimmer and will also make you feel slimmer. A few to try include: Apple Cinnamon Protein Shake, Mixed Berry Smoothie and Kale Smoothies. These tasty shakes are all high in nutrients and high in fiber, keeping you energized and satisfied throughout the day.
  4. Arm Exercises: Just because you haven’t been doing strength training until now, doesn’t mean you can’t start. For a few hours after we do strength training exercises, the muscles we work swell slightly, causing them to look more toned and defined. Before you take a shower on the day of your event, do 3 sets of 10 push-ups, 3 sets of 10 triceps push-ups and 3 sets of upright rows. A triceps push up is done in the following way: Sit on a chair and extend your legs straight-out in front of you. Put your hands on the edge of the chair with your palms facing down. Supporting yourself with your hands, dip your body down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Straighten up and repeat. Also, if traditional push-ups are difficult, drop your knees to the floor for assistance.
  5. Get a Glow: Have you ever noticed how tan body-builders and competitive weight lifters look? There’s a reason…there muscles look more toned and defined with a tan. Granted, you wouldn’t want to look as tan as they do, but let’s face it…we all look better with a little sun-kissed glow. Get natural looking color with a gradual tanner. I like the gradual tanners, because you are less likely to look too dark, to mess up and look streaky or to look overly “orangey.” Just be sure to tan for a few days ahead of time so you can build up the tan to a decent color for your big day.
  6. Stop by the spa for a body scrub and a facial to look your very best!

 Remember, the most important thing you can do to look great is to feel great and to feel good about yourself! So make sure you don’t obsess about how perfect (or imperfect) you look. Love yourself and enjoy the evening!

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