Let’s be honest, as joyful as the Christmas season can be, it also tends to be pretty stressful. Whether you are hosting, traveling to see family, or trying to find the perfect gift for everyone special in your life, all of this can add up and create a lot of stress.

There is also always a lot going on and food is definitely in abundance for most of us, but ensuring you are including the right foods in your daily diet can have a huge effect on how the holiday stress will affect your body.

First let’s take a quick look at what happens in our bodies. Cortisol, a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands, is released in higher quantities when the body reacts to stress. High cortisol levels also affect blood sugar levels, sleep and memory and suppresses immunity.

So with this in mind here are a few tips to get you through the holidays.

  • Include antioxidant foods. Since cortisol affects immunity by producing free-radicals, it is important to add antioxidant-rich foods to your diet to counteract this effect. This will help you avoid getting sick! The best source of antioxidants are dark leafy greens and berries, but any bright coloured vegetables and fruits will have a decent content.
  • Don’t be shy of whole grains. Whole grains are a great source of B vitamins which help maintain a healthy nervous system. They also help support the adrenal glands which are directly affected by increased stress. B vitamins also tends to be depleted by stress hence the importance of including them in your diet.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds. In the same spirit as whole grains, nuts and seeds can help provide support for the nervous system. They are a great source of calcium and magnesium which are important minerals for nerve conductivity. 
  • Take a vitamin C supplement. Stress also commonly depletes vitamin C which is also an antioxidant. Taking a supplement throughout the holidays can not only help your body get through the stress but also boost your immune system.
  • Stay hydrated! We often time indulge in alcoholic beverages throughout the holidays and maybe forgetting about the water. It is important to remember to stay hydrated since alcohol can have the opposite effect.
  • Be active. I know, I know! It’s already busy as it is, but exercise has direct effect on how your body handles stress. Bonus: you won’t feel as guilty for eating that second serving of pie!

Remember to take deep breaths when things get a little chaotic and try to take the time to enjoy this special time of year!

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