Yet, it can also contribute to a good amount of stress, especially for the more emotional part of the population, who try to jiggle numberless responsibilities, while aiming to create the perfect holiday atmosphere at their home.
All this can lead to sleep deprivation, accumulated tension and hidden anxiety that only surfaces post-factum. My first piece of advice would be to relax and give up on the idea to be on top of the game in every single area of your life. Finding time for yourself to wind down and be content with what you have already accomplished is essential! After all, the holiday time is not only about festivities, but also about making a retrospection of the past year, and simply the fact that you are already living cruelty-free or transitioning is something to feel good about!
And yet again, the fact that you are vegan can assist you in improving your life too, on top of saving so many animals’ lives! Plant-based foods are richer in nutrients than animal-derived products, and some of them are especially powerful in helping you fight stress.
When you eat to beat stress, you consume a diet that provides essential nutrients
to support the body in coping with stress and avoiding its negative impacts. When you choose foods that provide the body with the proper nutrients, it is prepared to handle demands and challenges with greater ease.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet which is high in antioxidants, fiber and essential phytonutrients and low in processed foods, trans fats and refined sugars help you to stabilize stress hormones like cortisol, control cravings and stay balanced. This way of eating also helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and squelch inflammation to prevent out-of-control stress hormones and breakdown of the body.
In particular, certain vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients help the body cope with and recover from stress. Typically associated with fish oil, but also found in plant-based sources, omega-3 fatty acids make up a crucial part of brain cell membranes, and are essential fatty acids, meaning that the body does not produce them on its own–you must consume them as part of your diet. They have been proven to fight against inflammation, aid brain growth and development, and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Studies also indicate that omega-3s may fight the symptoms of depression and lead to more mood stability overall, always a plus when it’s getting dark and gloomy outside (seasonal affective disorder is legitimate!).
Incorporating whole foods that provide these nutrients into a balanced diet can help you cope with stress and remain calm, focused and balanced throughout your day.
The easiest way to do this is by Downloading The Complete Vegan Recipe Solution, which features 145 delicious nutrient-rich recipes, perfectly balanced to help you fight inflammation, boost energy and fight chronic stress and fatigue for good!
Here are the nutrients themselves that will help you achieve this:
Typically associated with fish oil, but also found in plant-based sources, omega-3 fatty acids make up a crucial part of brain cell membranes, and are essential fatty acids, meaning that the body does not produce them on its own–you must consume them as part of your diet. They have been proven to fight against inflammation, aid brain growth and development, and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Studies also indicate that omega-3s may fight the symptoms of depression and lead to more mood stability overall, always a plus when it’s getting dark and gloomy outside (seasonal affective disorder is legitimate!). Some excellent plant-based sources of omega-3s include flax seeds, walnuts, and leafy green veggies.
Iron is a mineral that is a crucial component of hemoglobin, which is a substance in red blood cells that helps carry oxygen throughout the body. As a result, iron helps improve muscular stamina, lead to better energy levels, boost the immune system, and aid athletic performance. Iron deficiency, also called anemia, can lead to fatigue and feelings of depression, meaning that meeting the minimum RDA of iron is especially important during the chaos of the holiday season–or at any time of the year! The two types of iron are heme (found only in animal products) and non-heme (found in plant sources). Though heme iron is more readily absorbed by the body it has also been linked to an increased risk of coronary disease and colon cancer, since the body may absorb too much, leading to the possibility of an iron overdose. With non-heme iron, however, the body takes only what it needs, making it a healthier and better choice. Some iron-rich foods include edamame, lentils, quinoa, dried apricots, and kidney beans.
Though typically associated with milk, calcium is found in several plant-based sources, many of which boost far more health benefits than dairy products. It is a crucial mineral for building and maintaining strong bones, especially in combination with vitamin D, as well as helping the muscles, heart, and nerves function properly. However, the benefits of calcium go even further than this. Studies indicate that calcium can help manufacture melatonin, which regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle–turns out the benefits of a warm glass of milk have nothing to do with dairy, and everything to do with calcium! As a final bonus, calcium may also prevent pre-menstrual syndrome-related depression in women. Some calcium-rich plant-based foods include sesame seeds, leafy greens (especially collard greens and kale), blackstrap molasses, and beans.
Good for more than just boosting the immune system, vitamin C also has mood-boosting properties, and can even (literally) brighten up your meals in the dark winter months. In addition to supporting the immune system, vitamin C can help protect us from colds, speed up the process of healing wounds, lower blood pressure, and even potentially reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Several studies have shown a link between vitamin C consumption and a reduction of anxiety and depression, making it a crucial nutrient to consume during times of stress. In addition to the well-known citrus fruits, some other vitamin C-rich foods include strawberries, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, and guavas.
7. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is important for protecting cell membranes, assisting in the formation of red blood cells, and maintaining smooth, skeletal, and cardiac muscle, among other functions. It may also provide protection against cardiovascular disease, especially since it is often found in foods that are rich in healthy fats. Studies also indicate that a vitamin E deficiency has been linked to anxiety and depression, making it an excellent vitamin to focus on during this time of the year. Some foods rich in vitamin E include sunflower seeds, leafy green vegetables, wheat germ oil, peanuts, and almonds.
An easy and healthy way to incorporate all of these into your daily menu is The Complete Vegan Recipe Solution, featuring 145 nutrient-dense recipes that help you fight stress, inflammation, and effortlessly lose weight.
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