While scents like lavender commonly come to mind when we think of stress relief, it turns out citrus may evoke a sense of calm, too. Typically associated with invigorating and energizing powers, the scent of an orange has also been associated with stress relief. Find out how having this fruit on hand can help you stay calm in the face of a chaotic day below.
Inhale to Reduce Stress
By some estimations, the scent of an orange may reduce stress by more than 70%. Yet, having ripe orange slices on hand may not always be the most practical option for those of us with busy schedules. Using essential oils is therefore be a good alternative for getting an uplifting whiff of citrus during a long commute, for example. Likewise, if you anticipate a hectic work day, you can apply a few drops of essential oils approved for topical use on the wrists, temples, neck, or behind the ears. While mandarin has been linked to better digestion in addition to reduced stress, other citrus oils have unique benefits, too. Lemon, for example, has been shown to improve cognitive performance, while the scent of grapefruit oil appears to reduce cravings and boost metabolism.
Of course, you don’t have to simply smell oranges to reduce stress. In fact, eating oranges may pack an even more powerful punch.
Vitamin C for Relaxation
If you have a particularly stress-inducing event coming up, it may be worthwhile to pack an orange in your bag. People who consumed 1,000 mg of vitamin C before delivering a speech had lower levels of cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, as well as lower blood pressure. While the sensory benefits of peeling an orange undoubtedly contribute to this more relaxed state, the vitamin C itself also aids in stress reduction by allowing the body to quickly process cortisol. Moreover, people with high vitamin C levels actually recover from stressful situations quicker.
While an orange a day may keep the stress away, vitamin C supplements may also be beneficial for certain populations. Although the recommended dietary allowance for vitamin C for adults is a mere 75-90 mg, some evidence suggests that this outdated recommendation – which was established to combat scurvy – is inadequate for optimizing health. Thus, it comes as no surprise that vitamin C is the most commonly consumed supplement. If you’re considering upping your intake, just be sure to check in with a medical or dietary expert before beginning a new supplement regimen.