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7 Foods to Help You Weather the Holiday Stress

The #holidays are upon us and the stress is all around us!  Don't succumb to all the unhealthy goodies at the office - remember, eating well is your best defense!

1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another food that helps get the calm-inducing hormone serotonin flowing. According to research, carbohydrates can help the brain make #serotonin, the same substance regulated by antidepressants. Go with thick-cut, old fashioned oats that require cooking instead of instant #oatmeal. Coarse oats are higher in fiber and so they take longer to digest and their calming effect lasts longer.

2. Turkey

The sleepy feeling you get after eating Thanksgiving dinner is from the amino acid #tryptophan found in turkey. Tryptophan signals the brain to release the feel-good chemical serotonin, which promotes calmness and even tiredness. Other foods high in tryptophan include nuts, seeds, tofu, fish, #lentils, oats, beans, and eggs. 

3. Green leafy vegetables

Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain #folate, which produces dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical, that helps you keep calm.  A 2012 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders of 2,800 middle-aged and elderly people and found those who consumed the most folate had a lower risk of depression symptoms than those who took in the least. Spinach is also packed with magnesium, the mineral that helps regulate cortisol levels and promote feelings of well-being.

4. Salmon

 A diet rich in #omega-3 fatty acids helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when you're feeling tense. Researchers at Ohio State University discovered that taking 2.5g of omega-3s (or having 12 to 15 ounces of salmon) can reduce stress and anxiety by more than 20%. The study found similar results when diets were laden with other fatty fish or a fish oil supplement.

5. Blueberries

A handful of blueberries contain a healthy dose of #antioxidants and vitamin C, making them stress-busters. When we’re stressed, our bodies need vitamin C and antioxidants to help repair and protect cells.  Research has also shown that blueberry eaters experience a boost in natural killer cells, "a type of white blood cell that plays a vital role in immunity, critical for countering stress," says Cynthia Sass MPH, RD, Health's contributing nutrition editor.

4. Milk

A glass of warm milk before bed is a well-tested remedy for #insomnia.  Milk is high in antioxidants, vitamins B2 and B12, plus protein and calcium. The protein, lactium, has a calming effect by lowering blood pressure and the potassium can help relieve muscle spasms triggered by tension. in addition, fortified milk is good source of vitamin D, a nutrient that might boost happiness.

5. Nuts

Almonds are rich in vitamins B2 and E. Both of these nutrients help bolster the immune system during times of stress. Just 10 - 12 almonds each day does the trick.

Pistachios have heart-health benefits. Eating pistachios may reduce acute stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate. These nuts contain key phytonutrients that may provide antioxidant support for #cardiovascular health.

6. Oranges

Vitamin C is known to lower blood pressure and reduce the stress hormone #cortisol. For a quick shot of vitamin C, simply eat a whole orange or drink a glass of freshly squeezed glass of orange juice.

7.  Dark chocolate

A healthy indulgence - a bite, not a bar - of dark chocolate can help regulate stress levels. In addition, the antioxidants in cocoa trigger the walls of your blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure and improving circulation. In addition, dark chocolate contains unique natural substances that create a sense of euphoria. Opt for varieties that contain at least 70% cocoa.


Happy Holidays!


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