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With things to do, people to see, and barely enough time to make it all happen, the holidays, while joyful, can also be slightly stressful. Here are my top 10 some stress-busting nutrients and tips to help you get through the season in bliss.

1) Adaptogens

Adaptogenic herbs, such as maca and ginseng, contain nutrients that increase the body's ability to resist and adapt to stress. They can help alleviate anxiety, stress and trauma by restoring the body's natural balance and homeostasis.

2) Vitamin B6

B-vitamins are stress-busting vitamins. And while B6 is the most important in terms of busting stress, it's also the first to be depleted in the presence of stress. A lack of B6 could lead to depression, as B6 contributes to your body's ability to produce the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin.
Try munching on the following foods to get your stress-busting Bs in action: hazelnuts, cashew nuts, bananas, spinach, cauliflower and quinoa.

3) Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. Not only does it help to protect against oxidative stress and free-radical damage as a result of physical stress, but vitamin C can also help curb the large spikes in cortisol that are a response to mental stress. Foods rich in vitamin C include: camu camu, black currants, red peppers, strawberries, parsley and broccoli.

4) Calcium and Magnesium

The minerals calcium and magnesium have calming effects on the body and nervous system. Combined, they help relax nerves and tense muscles, alleviate muscle-cramping and headaches, and can help you fall asleep. Deficiencies in these important minerals can aggravate anxiety and tension. So to chill out, check out these foods sources of calcium and magnesium: SaviSeeds, kale, sesame seeds, almonds and maca.

5) Limit Refined and Processed Foods

Add more real, nutrient-dense, whole foods to your diet. Refined, processed foods add nutritional stress, and we don't need any more stress!

6) Sleep!

Get some good shut-eye. Sleep helps regulate cortisol levels, making us less moody and better equipped to deal with whatever is thrown our way.

7) Exercise

Yes I know that it's probably next to impossible to get to the gym with all you have to do over the holidays. But taking a brisk walk by yourself, with a friend or even just walking your dog can do wonders for stress release.

8) Limit Alcohol

The effects of alcohol consumption over the holidays can sneak up on you. Not only in the muffin top area but it can also attribute to mood swings and anxiety. Enjoy yourself but also limit your alcohol intake. You'll thank yourself later.

9) Breathe and Laugh!

Take a deeeep breath and … LAUGH OUT LOUD! Laughing is one of the best stress busters. Grab a group of your favorite people together for good times and laughter!

10) Enjoy the Moment

We spend so much energy worrying about perfection over the holidays, it's important to remember to enjoy ourselves, count our blessings and just enjoy the moment.

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Tags: K, Peggy, exercise, food, holidays, stress, tips

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Comment by Liz Dennison on December 22, 2011 at 12:57pm

What a great post...I am going to take this with me on my trip to see my family! :)

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