The holidays are supposed to be filled with joy, family, memories and happiness but sometimes we forget the purpose of this special time. Why? Because our minds focus on getting the perfect gift, hosting the best holiday party of the season or even family issues, and the list can go on and on. It's also a holiday where some people may experience anxiety, fear, tension, chest tightness, elevated heart rate, irritability and much more. But did you know that some foods with balanced nutrition can improve those symptoms? Check out the list of foods you should always have around to soothe your mind, body and save your sanity during the holidays.
1. Brazil nuts: High in selenium (reduce inflammation and improves mood) but be careful taking supplements and eat less than 4-5 of them per day. Selenium is an antioxidant that fights anxiety and its symptoms and a source of vitamin E. Brazil nuts contain the highest concentration of trace selenium which in turn makes it a better source to help your anxiety.
Tip: Add Brazil nuts to your favorite trail mix for the on the go last minute shopping. This mixture also is great for stocking stuffers as a Christmas morning snack as everyone opens gifts!
2. Fatty fish: Choose salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout or herring during the last minute holiday shopping. Omega 3's and cognitive function have a positive relation with mental health because they reduce inflammation. Recommendations suggest eating 2 servings of fatty fish per week. Vitamin D is also resourceful in salmon and sardines, linking vitamin D deficiency to mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Studies have shown low levels of essential fatty acids are also linked to decreased mood stabilization.
Tip: Its a perfect protein and source of fat to meal prep for the week and you benefit from the Omega 3's.
3. Eggs: Eggs has an amino acid that helps creates serotonin. Serotonin regulates mood, sleep, memory and behavior. This is because eggs have a high concentration of B vitamins. A high concentration of B vitamins can reduce the severity of depression symptoms.
Tip : Prepare 4-6 hard boiled eggs for a grab and go snack or add to a breakfast meal throughout the week.
4. Dark chocolate: Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!!. Dark chocolate is filled with an anti-oxidant called flavonoids. Dark chocolate contains tyrosine. Tyrosine is linked to increased dopamine. Dopamine has a direct effect on our emotional well-being and stimulates the pleasure triggers in our brain. Dark chocolate also allows us to feel a sense of happiness. In terms of anxiety, dark chocolate reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is unfortunately the hormone that makes us feel stressed. So, don’t feel guilty when receiving that dark chocolate fix in moderation this holiday season.
Tip: Keep a few pieces in your purse or pocket!
5. Turmeric: A spice that contains curcumin that lowers anxiety by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Plus its, easy to add to meals with minimal flavor. Curcumin has been correlated to reduce the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric is easy to add to meals with customized flavors. You can place turmeric in smoothies, curries, casseroles, and much more. This seasoning is also known as a natural remedy for depression.
Tip: Place in smoothies, curries, and casseroles.
6. Chamomile and Green tea: During this cozy season, a hot cup of tea does the soul right! Tea is useful to manage anxiety however will not prevent episodes of anxiety. Replace your hot cup of coffee for green tea in the morning and chamomile tea at night. Its the perfect replacement! Fortunately, chamomile calms the body and, in some cases, provides a sedative effect. While this nutrient is known to boost your immune system for the flu season, it also treats insomnia and anxiety. After your holiday meal, decrease your anxiety and depression with a cup of chamomile tea!
Tip: Replace your hot cup of coffee for green tea in the morning and chamomile tea at night. Its the perfect replacement!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! From Wilkins and Westbrooks