Trib Tips: Lighten up | Advice – Grand Haven Tribune

As summer fades to fall, and daylight hours grow shorter by the day, our moods may not be as bright, either. So perhaps it’s no coincidence that September is National Suicide Awareness Month.

Today is also Friday the 13th, but there’s no reason to feel doom and gloom. Besides regular exercise and plenty of sleep suggestions, Trib Tips this week offers advice to lift your mood without adding extra calories.

Salute saffron

Besides its bright-orange color that’s as natural of a mood brightener as a rainbow, saffron contains elements that act like an antidepressant, according to a National Institutes of Health study. The best part is, the spice carries no known side effects.

Search your favorite web browser for saffron recipes and cook away. Your family and you will smile more because of it.

Jump for java

No need to binge on ice cream or sweets. A cup of black coffee (or a cup with a sugar-free sweetener) has the perfect amount of caffeine to boost your mood.

Coffee isn’t the only “perk me up” liquid in your cupboard. A cup of caffeinated black, green or other-flavored tea can clear your mind and amplify your alertness, according to an American Journal of Nutrition study.

It’s not just the caffeine your body is fond of, though. Researchers believe the amino acid in tea also provides positive mood-boosting properties.

Go nuts for coconut

We all know a pina colada drink brings images of sunny tropical beaches, toes in the sand and relaxation, but there may be more to that scene than we think.

Coconut and coconut oil have great relaxing properties, according to a Columbia University study. Just smelling the fruit can ease the brain’s fight-or-flight response, the study says.

We may not have tropical beaches in our parts, but head to the beach just the same.

If possible, go barefoot. A walk on the Lake Michigan beach, absorbing the sounds of waves and nature, is a perfect mood-brightener right in our community’s backyard.

Opt for an apple

It’s the season to grab an apple off your backyard tree or at a local farmers market.

If you don’t have time to eat it, or don’t want to ruin your appetite for dinner, don’t worry — simply sniffing an apple can get positive thoughts flowing.

The scent of green apples is especially helpful for headaches, and has shown to ease discomfort for chronic migraine sufferers.

Soak up sunshine

Any chance the sun peeks out, get outside. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, sunshine is perhaps nature’s best natural mood-booster.

Natural light encourages your body to produce more vitamin D, which helps you feel refreshed and more positive.

If clouds persist for days, consider an over-the-counter vitamin D supplement, but get the OK from your doctor first.

Bon voyage

Studies show that planning a trip can elevate moods, even if you never take the trip. Let your imagination, and your Google fingers, roam free as you explore all the world has to offer.

Have some favorite apps, household hints or savings secrets of your own you’d like to share? Or searching for a solution? We’d love to hear from you. Email Marie Havenga at mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com. Include your name, address and phone number. You may also snail-mail ideas to: Trib Tips, 101 N. Third St., Grand Haven, MI 49417; or call 616-847-2628.