Holiday Stress Tip #2: Quick! Roast a Turkey!

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Holiday Stress Tip #2?  Quick! Roast a Turkey!

It’s no secret that food and exercise plays a role in your ability to deal with stress. If family gatherings are stressful for you, consider including some known stress relievers in the menu.

The key is to get enough tryptophan on the menu. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that promotes relaxation. It also promotes the production of serotonin. Why is this important? Seratonin is a neurotransmitter produced by your body that helps improve your mood, fight off depression, and promotes good sleep. So increasing everyone’s serotonin levels through your good cooking is a gift to everyone during the emotional highs and lows of the holidays.

I can hear you already: “What a great idea! I’d love to see if I can’t keep Aunt Marge from bursting into tears – again – at the dinner table. How do I do that?”

You may not be able to solve Aunt Marge’s annual melt down, but here are some ideas for foods high in tryptophan that are more common during the holidays:

Why not create a holiday menu that is rich in tryptophan, which will increase everyone’s serotonin levels and, as a result, perhaps promote a jollier event?

Here are some high-tryptophan foods that are common holiday fare:

  • Turkey
  • Milk
  • Shrimp,
  • Chicken,
  • Pork roast
  • Eggs,
  • Spinach,
  • Asparagus,
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

To further enhance your chances of improving everyone’s mood, increase the absorption of tryptophan by adding complex carbohydrates. Not only do complex carbohydrates improve your body’s absorption of tryptophan, they also help your body produce serotonin. Consider entrées such as brown rice, whole grain breads, or lentils for this effect.

If that doesn’t work, end your day with a cup of Chamomile tea to promote overall relaxation, reduce stress, and provide a good night sleep when all is said and done.

Remember , the focus of the holidays is best put on people rather than food. Choosing your menu strategically to can’t hurt!


PS – Doesn’t it make you wonder about the origin of traditional holiday menus?

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