Did you know rainbows have inspired some amazing health tips? Scientists say you can ease worry, increase energy, dampen aches, and more by simply adding sunny pops of color to your day.
Gazing at a rainbow powers memory in minutes!
Struggling to get through your to-do’s? Call up a photo of a beautiful rainbow on your smartphone or computer screen. Admiring the bright range of colors stimulates the areas of the brain that control mood and energy, which British researchers say boosts your memory and helps you complete mental tasks 25 percent faster.
Soothe stress by lounging poolside.
To restore your calm at the end of a harried week, kick off your shoes and unwind by a pool or along the shores of a lake. Research in the journal Health & Place found that “blue spaces,” or waterscapes, relieved tension by shifting the brain into a meditative state that allows you to let go of your worries. It’s so effective at melting anxiety, folks who visited blue spaces once a week were 70 percent more likely to report having good moods than those who never visited bodies of water.
Melt away pounds with Merlot.
Summer’s boardwalk fries and ice cream cones may have been irresistible, but the good news is, you can stop weight gain in its tracks by adding a different indulgence to your daily diet no that it’s fall: red wine. It sounds downright crazy, but Harvard researchers found that women who sipped two glasses of red wine daily were 70 percent less likely to be overweight.
Credit resveratrol, a compound abundant in red wine that Washington State University scientists say helps turn stubborn white fat into beneficial calorie-burning brown fat. What’s more, red wine’s polyphenols have been shown to help metabolize blood sugar before it can be turned into fat.
And use red dishes! Italian scientists found that folks who ate off red plates consumed up to 30 percents less than those using other color dinnerware. Why? We associate red with avoidance, and seeing the color helps you put down your fork before you overindulge.
Solve problems with a break in the yard.
Stuck on ideas for your church fundraiser? Take a break to lounge in your yard or stroll through a park. The more time you spend in nature, the bigger mental boost you’ll enjoy. University of Kansas scientists say heading outdoors to admire lush greenery improves creativity by as much as 50 percent. That’s because nature helps the brain recharge its resources, sharpening your thinking skills.
Or grab a green pen! A Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin study found that the color green taps into the area of the brain associated with imagination, and writing in Kelly-hued ink or switching to an emerald computer font sends creativity soaring 30 percent.
Boost energy with sunflowers.
Cheery sunflowers are the pick-me-up you need on days when you’re feeling blah. The summer favorites up your energy and mood by 35 percent, according to a UK study. Gazing at bright colors spurs your body to release more revitalizing beta brain waves. Why sunflowers in particular are so energizing: Research shows yellow hues stimulate the brain’s frontal lobes, which puts the pep back in your step in as little as 60 seconds.
Or admire ducklings! Japanese scientists say photos or videos of baby animals — like fuzzy, yellow ducklings — evoke an innate protective response that makes you feel alert.
Ease pain by watching the sunset.
Give your body the R&R it craves when you’re feeling sore by grabbing a seat on your porch and watching the sunset. Doing nothing and truly unwinding releases GABA, a hormone that stamps out stubborn pain in 10 minutes, German scientists say. Make it a habit by relaxing for 30 minutes a day, and you’ll lower your risk of pain flare-ups by 50 percent in two weeks
And eat an orange! Snacking on the vitamin C–rich fruit daily is one of the most popular health tips for many reasons. One of the best ones is that it cuts healing time in half and increases energy by 33 percent, Arizona State University scientists say, by activating cellular repair enzymes.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.