Kelly McGillivray - Healtheries Naturopath
The most wonderful time of the year is here! And the Christmas countdown is on. Yet for many of us it seems that instead of winding down for the year, we’re actually winding up!
There is a never-ending list of to-dos with last minute jobs, Christmas shopping, work parties, menu-planning, housework, school functions and so on all vying for priority. So if the end of the year is starting to get the better of you, we have some nutrition know-how to get you through the silly season with sanity intact.
B vitamins get used up quickly when the body is under stress. They are vital for optimal mental and emotional health, as well as proper brain and nervous system function. When our levels of these necessary nutrients are low, we are less likely to be able to cope in stressful situations. We will also feel tired and depleted, struggling to stay awake in the day but also struggling to get restful sleep at night.
B vitamins work as helpers within the body to support many cellular processes. One of their functions is to assist with the conversion of the dietary amino acid tryptophan into the neurotransmitters serotonin which supports healthy mood and also melatonin, our sleep hormone.
Magnesium is essential for supporting our mind and body when we’re stressed. It’s often dubbed ‘Nature’s chill pill’ for its crucial role in helping the body relax from tension – whether you hold that tension in your muscles or your mind. Magnesium not only helps us cope with stress so much better, it also helps with fatigue, helping us maintain consistent energy levels throughout the day.
It’s estimated up to 75% of us have some degree of magnesium deficiency so it’s no surprise we might be getting hot under the collar more easily at this time of year. Plus, the more stress you have the more magnesium you use up! With our diets often low in replenishing magnesium and using up our stores more quickly, it’s easy to see why we might need a little helping hand at this time of year.
Vitamin C might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to stress, but this winter favourite is also a summertime necessity to get us through the silly season. Our adrenal glands, sitting like triangular hats atop our kidneys, are the centre for our stress response producing hormones like cortisol and adrenalin. Vitamin C is essential for the proper functioning of our adrenal glands and to make our stress hormones.
The more stress we have, the more vitamin C our body uses up and the more we need. When we are stressed, vitamin C disappears out of the blood stress at an extremely quick rate. Whether we are exercising hard (good stress) or wilting under pressure (bad stress), we need more vitamin C. Unlike most animals, we as humans can’t make our own vitamin C and we have limited space to store it. So we must get it regularly – every day in fact.
So to get you through this hectic time of the year make sure you are covering these nutrition basics to support your body this festive season. Happy Holidays!
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