by Jion Sommer, Nutritionist, Reiki Master & Meditation Teacher, Owner, Living Proof Naturally
Healthy eating, exercise, meditation and good self-care are the gifts we need to give ourselves and others this holiday season of joy and good cheer.
5 Healthy Foods to Reduce Stress This Holiday Season
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, an antioxidant. Lycopene improves mood by preventing the formation of pro-inflammatory compounds, like interleukin-6, which links to depression. Sweet potatoes also are high in other mood enhancers, like vitamin B6 and magnesium.
Lentils are the perfect comfort food (think lentil soup). Not only are lentils hearty, filling and perfectly warm on cold winter days, they also pack depression-fighting folate. Folate helps make serotonin and dopamine.
Almonds are brimming with vitamin E and B vitamins, which may protect both your immune system and mood. Also, one-fourth of one cup of dry-roasted, salted almonds packs about 25% of your daily recommended magnesium intake, which protects your body against oxidative stress.
Chamomile tea has mild tranquilizing effects and contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which helps reduce anxiety. Plus, chamomile promotes sleep, allowing your body to get the rest it needs to deal with stressors.
Oatmeal contains the healthy carbohydrates and fiber needed to boost your serotonin levels for three hours. A perky disposition depends on carbohydrates. Serotonin, your brain’s primary mood-boosting neurotransmitter, comes from the amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan needs carbohydrates to reach the brain.
More ways to reduce stress and boost your immune system during the holidays:
Meditation practice will greatly reduce stress. Sit in a chair or on the floor, spine erect with your hands resting gently in your lap. Take three deep cleansing breaths and then just breathe naturally.
Quality over quantity is important here. If you are just able to sit for 3 to 5 minutes that’s fine. As you are meditating, thoughts will arise. Don’t judge them or get involved with them, just notice and then go back to the awareness of your breath, and your thoughts will dissolve.
Exercise is great for stress so get out for a walk with friends, family and the dog!
Reiki is very relaxing and great to re-balance us when we get jangled from stress and all the demands of the season.
Be sure to take good care of yourself and each other this holiday season.
May all Beings Benefit