The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!
For some that brings excitement – for others, panic! Those easy celebrations we dream of may feel out of reach, so I wanted to put together a survival list for your next grocery store trip.
With emotions higher than normal, and possible family minefields to negotiate, I want you to have this handy list of 10 foods you can eat that truly help your body and brain feel focused, calmer, and more resilient.
We have to honor how we feel physically, support our bodies so we can move through our emotions in a healthy way, instead of stuffing them down with handfuls of green and red M&Ms.
These 10 foods are good to help calm anxiety, uncertainty, and stress.
- Water: stay hydrated. Your brain works better and your nervous system is more calm when you’re hydrated. Anxiety may be a result of your mother-in-law’s visit, and dehydration. Take a break outside and drink a big glass, then go back inside refreshed.
- Chamomile Tea: calming for muscle spasms and the entire nervous system, drink all day and before bed.
- Sweet Potatoes: the sweet, dense flavor and texture are calming for upset stomach without the blood-sugar destroying effects of refined sweeteners. Roast up a dozen and store the extra in the fridge. Use leftovers for my favorite easy holiday recipe: Sweet Potato Pudding!
- Coconut Butter: Like peanut butter, but from coconuts. Sweet, high in healthy fats that are soothing and satiating for the stomach and fuel for the brain, coconut butter and oil are helpful for thyroid and overall hormone production. And let’s be honest: the holidays can be a bit of a hormone roller coaster with the family and the travel and the election! 🙂
- Kale, Bok Choy, Collards – ok, any leafy greens: Leafy greens are rich in folate, which helps your body produce mood-regulating neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine. Also a good fiber source, which can help keep our digestive system, rocked by stressed, on track.
- Pumpkin Seeds: a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid (protein building block) that your body converts into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which helps promote happiness and relaxation.
- Raw Sauerkraut: The secret to improving your mood is to support your gut. Your digestive system houses and produces most of your serotonin (see above), and unhealthy gut flora (produced by stress and too much sugar) can have a detrimental impact your brain health, leading to issues like anxiety and depression. Beneficial bacteria found in naturally fermented foods like sauerkraut have a direct effect on brain chemistry, transmitting mood- and behavior-regulating signals to your brain via your vagus nerve.
- Wild Salmon (Omega-3 fats ETP and DHA): Found in wild caught salmon, sardines, and anchovies, or supplement form, such as krill oil, the animal-based fats play a big role in your emotional well-being. One study in Brain Behavior and Immunity showed a dramatic 20 percent reduction in anxiety among medical students taking omega-3.
- Dark Chocolate: Ok, who was I kidding with all the greens and salmon. Chocolate is a proven mood elevator. (But still, eat your greens!) There’s a chemical reason for our love of the dark stuff: it’s called anandamide, a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that temporarily blocks feelings of pain and depression. It’s a derivative of the Sanskrit word “bliss,” and one of the great things about chocolate is that it not only produces this compound, it also contains other chemicals that prolong the “feel-good” aspects of anandamide. Choose an 85% chocolate and kick up your feet with a cup of unsweetened chamomile tea.
- Sunshine: SO, it’s not really a food but hear me out. Sunshine both in your eyes and on your skin helps your body produce serotonin, that neurotransmitter associated with a good mood. Low levels of Vitamin D, also boosted by sun exposure, is associated with anxiety. Get outside and try not to wear sunglasses – get the sunlight in your eyes, without directly looking at the sun, for maximum benefit. Oh, and no sun screen. Just for the next few days. Really. It inhibits your ability to produce Vitamin D through your skin, and the few extra wrinkles will be worth it.
Join me Thursday night for a special no-cost webinar to support your Holiday mindset and plans!
Holiday Prep: Calm, Joyous, Healthy, Grateful!
Thursday, November 17th, 2016
8:30pm ET/5:30pm PT
Join online: https://zoom.us/j/631330220?pwd=jjLrHZZH57f2bbOKt%2FKesA%3D%3D
Dial: +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) or +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 631 330 220
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=HMJV9Cxq2XvPA4PJa_itSBBaHW96doM3
This is a no-cost gathering, and I won’t be selling anything – this is just a chance for me to help you with your emotional, nutritional, and mindset goals.
Put the date in your calendar!