With only a few days left until Christmas, many of us are rushing around trying to get presents bought and wrapped, sorting out Christmas food and drinking festivities and making sure everything is set for the merry few days ahead.
Unfortunately, on top of work and social commitments, the festive period is often very stressful and tiring, and many of us will end up exhausted and rundown.
Looking after yourself during this time is crucial, and this means sticking to a healthy diet to keep your energy levels up and your immune system working well.
Below is a quick guide to foods you should aim to include in your diet in order to beat stress this Christmas:
Not to everyone’s taste but a powerful stress-buster, asparagus is a key food for Christmas. It is high in folic acid – of which low levels are linked to mood disorders such as depression – and a single cup provides two-thirds of your daily intake. Asparagus is easy to incorporate into your diet as it can be prepared in many ways. You can steam or grill spears as a side dish for a main meal or a healthy snack.
Rich in B vitamins, avocados are great for helping to relieve stress, but can also help to lower blood pressure thanks to their high levels of monosaturated fat and potassium. Use an avocado as a topping for a lunchtime sandwich or add one to a salad dish.
Small but mighty, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin C, making them highly effective for combating stress. This is because the body needs more Vitamin C and antioxidants when it is feeling run down as they help to repair and protect cells. Blueberries can be added to breakfast cereal and yoghurt to add some fruity freshness.
Drinking warm milk before bed is thought to help treat insomnia and fidgetiness. Milk is high in antioxidants as well as protein, calcium and B vitamins – all of which can have a calming effect on the body.
Leafy greens can be comforting to eat, but spinach in particular is packed with magnesium which can help regulate cortisol levels and promote feelings of health and well-being. Adding a portion to an omelette or steam as a side dish will provide you with 40% of your daily quota of magnesium.