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Eating regular meals helps to maintain blood sugar levels which is essential for maintaining our moods. When our blood sugar levels dip our body switches to ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing stress hormones that heighten anxiety levels. Plan and prepare your meals ahead of time to create a structure in your eating.
Instead of shortlisting a few ‘superfoods’, take a varied approach to the food you eat. Food works better combined than in isolation. This also guards against common nutrient deficiencies.
Observe the exchange between the food you eat and how you are feeling. Eating well is as much about what is on your mind, as what is on your plate. If you are feeling sluggish, Kelly recommends preparing easy dishes that stimulate the appetite. Bitter and peppery flavoured foods like rocket, grapefruit and basil are great appetite and nutrition boosters.
Take the time to prepare your meals mindfully. Cooking can be a reassuring ritual and an extension of your meditation routine. When preparing a meal, you have to stand still, so this might encourage you to enjoy the moment.
Alice Mackintosh is a fully certified nutritional therapist practicing in London. Alice regularly writes for magazines and newspapers; and is often invited to comment on a host of nutritional matters on BBC World News and BBC Radio 4. In 2017 she teamed up with established author, client and friend Rachel Kelly to create bestselling book The Happy Kitchen – Good Mood Food, a guide to eating for mental health based on 140 pieces of scientific research.Alice is a proud member of the two leading governing bodies for nutrition and complementary healthcare – the British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (BANT) and the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC).
Rachel Kelly is a British author and mental health advocate. She has worked as a journalist at The Times, and is the author of the books Black Rainbow, Walking on Sunshine, The Happy Kitchen and Singing in the Rain