From the Magazine

‘Colorful’ Ways to Trim Your Waist, Banish Brain Fog, Silence Stress, and More

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Research proves that just adding cheerful pops of color to your life with what you eat and what you see, can help in many ways from getting your energy up to slimming down to de-stressing. See below for how it’s done.

Red: Send energy soaring with a splash of red.

When you feel your stamina flagging, skip that second cup of coffee in favor of glancing at something red. Slipping on a red bracelet or gazing at a ruby-hued picture frame raises your energy levels by 31 percent and speeds up your reaction time. Scientists at the University of Rochester in New York say red activates an area of the brain responsible for easing tiredness and renewing vim and vigor.

Or breathe in the scent of roses: Dab a rollerball filled with rose essential oil on your pulse points and breathe in the aroma— you’ll feel revitalized within five minutes, say researchers at the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago.

Orange: Sharpen your focus by sipping OJ.

Start your day feeling mentally sharp and breeze through your to-do’s by sipping a glass of orange juice with breakfast. British scientists say an orange a day — whole or juiced — kick-starts the production of focus-enhancing beta brain waves and helps the body convert food into energy, cutting your risk of dragginess by 33 percent.

Or catch a sunset: Feeling foggy? Watch the sun sink into the sky. Viewing bright, warm colors (like orange) stimulates the focus center of the brain, says color therapist Leatrice Eiseman, author of More Alive with Color ($10, Amazon).

Yellow: Feel even happier by catching some rays.

Whether you take a stroll around the block or grab a book and relax on your patio, basking in the sun’s cheery yellow rays for just 15 minutes a day will make you 154 percent less likely to feel down, according to Korean researchers reporting in the journal Public Health Nutrition. Scientists credit UV rays with keeping your vitamin D levels up, which helps regulate the production of mood-boosting brain chemicals.

And snack on a pineapple: More than just a tasty treat, pineapple contains serotonin and noradrenaline, two brain chemicals that Indian researchers say work like antidepressants to lift your spirits and fend off low moods.

Green: Speed slimming with pretty succulents.

Do sweet cookies or salty chips shout your name when your to-do list grows longer than the day? Instead of grabbing a stress snack, look at something green, like your favorite succulents, which prods the body to produce soothing brain waves in as little as five minutes, according to Hyla Cass, MD, co-author of 8 Weeks to Vibrant Health ($13.65, Amazon). This tamps down tension, quashing the urge to give in to diet-sabotaging cravings.

And wear green: Whether you’re at the gym or walking in a park, green sneakers or tops will supercharge your workout. British scientists say the color boosts motivation, making exercise feel easier so you can work out longer.

Blue: Shake off stress by lounging poolside.

Set your lounge chair up by the pool, kick your feet up and aah — feel your tension melt away. A study in the journal Health & Place found that folks who enjoy “blue spaces,” like pools, oceans, or lakes, once a week were 70 percent more likely to report high well-being — a measure of good mood and physical health. Even just looking at bodies of water improved outlook. Turns out, soothing blue waterscapes naturally shift the brain into a more meditative state, ushering in feelings of calm and relaxation.

Or switch on a blue bulb: Need a fast fix for runaway anxiety? Sit in a room lit by a blue light bulb and you’ll feel calmer in 60 seconds. Spanish scientists say blue light soothes the area of the brain that manages emotions, restoring your sense of peace.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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