Feeling down? Buy a one-way ticket to the Mediterranean — or at least eat like you live there. According to a report in the Archives of General Psychiatry, a diet rich in veggies, fish and olive oil — abundant meal staples in that region — can help fight the blues. Researchers discovered that of the 10,000 participants in a Spanish study, those who followed this diet most closely reduced their risk of depression by more than 30 percent. There is definitely a connection between food and mood, says Alan Logan, ND, author of The Brain Diet, who suggests taking supplements such as omega-3 to make up for what your diet might be lacking. “They’re like a nutritional insurance policy.”
Unless your work time is flexible, you’re stuck waking up in the dark for half the year, which can disrupt sleep patterns and mood. Reboot your circadian clock with Philips’ Wake-Up Light, an alarm that simulates a sunrise by gradually glowing brighter 30 minutes before your choice of calming sounds (chirping birds or jungle drums?) rings out. Once you’re up, hit an early yoga class and flash your Passport to Prana, a membership card with a one-time fee that scores you free classes at top yoga studios in your city.
Products to try: Wake-Up Light ($190, Philips); Passport to Prana ($20 to $30)
If only we’d bought shares in hand sanitizers, we’d be in Bora Bora by now. But new research suggests that many germ-killers contain triclosan, which turns toxic when exposed to sun or chlorine. A handshaker’s saviour — Michelle Obama’s press secretary carries it — CleanWell’s version uses thyme oil, a natural antimicrobial. If that doesn’t ease your swine-flu fears, download HealthMap, an iPhone app that sends an alert if there’s an outbreak in your ’hood.
Product to try: CleanWell All-Natural Hand Sanitizer ($5).
If you plan on coming out of the cabana at all on your winter beach retreat, try these new multi-taskers to prep your bod for the big reveal. Olay’s Total Effects cleansers promise to do for your limbs what antiaging potions (and injectables) do for your face: brighten drab skin and minimize fine lines. Avert a stubble crisis with Dove’s VisiblySmooth antiperspirant. Moisture-rich ingredients like sunflower oil soften coarse hair, which helps to camouflage it. Beach volleyball, anyone?
Products to try: Dove Ultimate VisiblySmooth Clinical Protection Anti-Perspirant ($8); Olay Total Effects Exfoliate & Replenish Body Wash ($10)