That whole “Keep Calm, and Carry On” mantra is fine most of the year, but don’t tell that to the person shopping, cooking dinner, or assembling bicycles at midnight on Christmas Eve. The stress of the holidays can cause your mood to change from joyful to melancholy in no time, spoiling the festivities with family and friends.
Click here for the Fight Holiday Stress with Superfoods slideshow.This year, prevent the holiday blues by eating your way to a less stressful celebration. Yes, some foods can reduce stress in a healthy way, not the eating-cake-over-the-sink-so-no-one-sees way.
Foods high in vitamin C, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and complex carbohydrates lower stress levels by bolstering your immune system and reducing blood pressure. This might not sound like your typical comfort foods, but that’s because true stress-relieving foods do more than raise serotonin levels, like that gooey and fattening mac and cheese might.
We asked, Keri Gans, RDN and author of The Small Change Diet, to weigh in on a few foods commonly touted as “stress-reducing” for a little more information on why these foods alleviate stress and what pitfalls to avoid when diving in for another bite.
Avocados contain B vitamins and folic acid, which may help to alleviate stress. Keep in mind though that one serving of avocado is around a quarter of the avocado. If you eat a lot more than one serving at a time you will be consuming more calories than you should which in itself can be stress inducing!
There has been some research to suggest that the antioxidant polyphenol found in chocolate may help decrease stress. However, with chocolate more is not better, as the calories from fat and sugar can easily add up.
Fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, an anti-inflammatory compound, which research has shown may decrease depression and possibly anxiety in healthy individuals.
Almonds contain the antioxidant vitamin E that may help boost your immune system, which is important during stressful times. You can enjoy almonds with a piece of fruit, tossed in your oatmeal, yogurt, or a smoothie, or on the go in a KIND Nuts & Spices Carmel Almond and Sea Salt Bar.
Drinking tea has been shown to help reduce stress; however, which particular compounds found in tea is responsible for this is still uncertain. It has also been shown that the ritual of making and drinking tea unto itself can be the reason for a decrease in stress.
The following slideshow is provided by special contributor, Julie Ruggirello.
Angela Carlos is the Cook Editor at The Daily Meal. Find her on Twitter and tweet @angelaccarlos.