The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year, but unfortunately, for many it comes with a lot of stress. Not only can this anxiety ruin your holiday, but it can wreak havoc on the healthy lifestyle you’re trying to achieve. A stressed body does not perform the way it’s supposed to, and it pushes your fitness goals further away, even when you are doing everything else you’re supposed to do.
So how can you combat this? There are the usual suggestions, such as incorporating yoga and meditation into your daily routine, diffusing lavender essential oil, and taking time out of your day for self-care. But I have another suggestion: Eat for your anxiety. Yes, you can do this. There are foods that induce stress, and those that don’t. For example, foods high in Vitamin B, such as chicken, citrus fruits, and eggs, have been shown to reduce depression. Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps you feel calm, can be stimulated by eating foods with tryptophan, such as turkey, bananas, and oats. Foods high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, have also been shown to reduce anxiety and stress.Depressants and caffeinated foods and beverages, such as coffee and alcohol, should be avoided. Unfortunately, the buzz and happy feeling these foods provide is only temporary. Caffeine can limit serotonin levels, which leads to depression, and both of these beverages are diuretics, meaning they dehydrate your body. And when your body is dehydrated, it’s not happy.The biggest area of conflict in eating for happiness refers to how carbohydrates affect the body. For years, carbs have been known as the ultimate comfort food. I am happy to inform you that carbs can definitely be a great way to reduce stress – you just have to eat the right ones. Whole grains slowly release sugar into the bloodstream, keeping you feeling lively, while increasing serotonin levels in the brain to make you happy. High processed and sugary carbs, while providing a quick high, ultimately bring you down as the body struggles to increase insulin to remove the excess sugar from the bloodstream, which causes you to feel tired rather than happy.So there you have it – a list of healthy foods to help
you keep this holiday season joyful. Remember to stay strong in the pursuit of your goals, but, most importantly, enjoy yourself. The holidays are a time to spend time with family and to feel like a kid again. Embrace it. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and thank you for a great first year.